Looking ahead to 2022 – Thomas Binns, Uplands

First published: 20 December 2021

Headshot of Thomas Binns

As 2021 draws to a close, Uplands Forum Chair Thomas Binns considers what lies in store for 2022.

As we leave 2021, it's fair to say that upland farming has enjoyed an extended period of buoyant stock prices.

It's also fair to say that input costs have caught up and the volatile global energy markets will have a far reaching impact on our farming sector in 2022! 

Shared frustrations

You will no doubt have experienced the first definitive step of the Agricultural Transition Plan, namely the cut to your BPS.

You will also be sharing in the frustration in the slow developments around ELMs and particularly the SFI 2022. The direction of travel for the SFI 22 has been set by Defra but is short of all the detail that farmers need to evaluate it and make business decisions for the future.

The NFU Uplands Forum continues to be engaged in trying to bring some sense of ‘farming‘ into Defra proposals and ensuring a workable standard for moorland and rough grazing in the SFI 22.

Significance and opportunity

Reminding government of the significance and opportunity that farmed uplands can deliver for everyone is a key message ensuring access to future schemes.

Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) was a scheme designed to provide funding to protected landscapes. However, it’s too early to comment on the progress of the scheme. If you are unsure of what could be applied for under this scheme there is more information on NFUonline.

Commons agreements

There are still key areas of uncertainty that need to be clarified, for example what will future commons agreements look like? Conservation covenants caused concern earlier in the year with amendments proposed to the Environment Bill, and we have encouraged amendments which focus on fair and suitable use of the covenant.

As we move into this new world of agreements we need to take the opportunity to make sure that commons agreements can be simplified, separating the home farm agreement from common land agreement. Having a suitable legal structure would be a good first step.

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