‘Chaos and confusion’ over ELM spooked farmers, says Labour

 

Labour has criticised the poor take-up of Environmental Land Management (ELM) and claimed “chaos and confusion” across the agri-environment scheme has “spooked” farmers.

Labour mentioned Defra’s incapacity to enhance participation might imply some farmers in England will miss out on very important assist funds, that are designed to guard meals safety and enterprise stability.

See additionally: ELM scheme right here to remain, Defra tells inexperienced foyer teams

A Defra response to a written query from shadow farming minister David Zeichner revealed that, as of 18 October, lower than 2,000 Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) functions have been submitted.

Around 4,450 farmers have began their functions, Defra mentioned.

These figures embody functions obtained for each the pilot scheme launched in 2021 and the early rollout of the scheme in June this 12 months.

Mr Zeichner mentioned the brand new Defra secretary, Therese Coffey, wanted to maneuver shortly to reassure farmers in regards to the SFI price range, because the Basic Payment Scheme is phased out in England.

“It is not any marvel that take-up of the Sustainable Farming Incentive has been pitifully low, when farmers haven’t any assure that the purpose posts gained’t be moved once more and assist undermined,” Mr Zeichner mentioned.

“The current chaos and confusion round Environmental Land Management schemes has spooked farmers and environmentalists alike, and performed nothing to assist British farmers.”

Farmers Weekly has contacted Defra to request a response.

Back British Farming Day returns

Labour is supporting the NFU’s annual Back British Farming Day, which this 12 months takes place on Wednesday 2 November.

The NFU says the day will “showcase the numerous function that farming performs because the spine of Britain’s rural financial system, its communities and iconic surroundings”.

Starting in Westminster, Back British Farming Day celebrations will centre round winners of the NFU’s new Community Farming Heroes award, nominated by MPs.

Awards are given to these farmers and growers who’ve gone the additional mile for his or her local people and past.

In addition, MPs shall be requested to put on their wheatsheaf pin badge, now an emblem of the day, to indicate their assist.

NFU president Minette Batters mentioned: “This 12 months’s occasion comes at an especially vital time for British farming, and for the nation.

“As the nation faces continued financial challenges, prime minister Rishi Sunak’s speedy precedence shall be to ascertain financial stability for the entire nation.

“This consists of for our farmers and growers who, like many households, proceed to face important challenges, together with rising vitality prices.”