Opinion: BPS advance is small compensation, Mr Eustice

Defra secretary George Eustice wrote to me personally this week with information that he has determined to convey ahead cost of a part of my Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) cash for 2022.

I assumed I ought to write him a reply:

About the creator

Stephen Carr

Farmers Weekly Opinion author

Stephen Carr runs an 800ha sheep, arable and beef farm on the South Downs close to Eastbourne in partnership together with his spouse Fizz. Part is transformed to natural standing and topic to a Higher Level Stewardship settlement.


Windy Hill Farm
Flint Acre
Drought Prone
East Sussex

Dear Mr Eustice,

Many thanks in your letter informing me that I can count on half of my BPS annual declare to be paid sooner than in earlier years.

Given the associated fee worth squeeze {that a} predominantly beef and sheep farm like mine has been beneath for the previous 18 months, this earlier part-payment might be most welcome.

If your letter was just a little quick, I fairly perceive, as you’ve received lots in your plate for the time being.

So a lot so, for instance, that just about 17 months after Great Britain (the UK, excluding Northern Ireland) lastly withdrew from the EU’s single market and customs union, you continue to haven’t managed to search out the time to get border checks in place for meals imported into GB from the EU.

And that’s despite the fact that the EU carried out its border checks on meals exports from GB from day one…

Brief as your letter was, I fairly preferred your paragraph about why you’d determined to convey ahead my BPS cost.

You defined that the rise in ammonium nitrate, tractor diesel and electrical energy costs has put “an elevated stress on cashflow within the quick time period”.

I say I “fairly preferred” that paragraph, as a result of I’m undecided why you suppose the stress on my cashflow might be “quick time period”.

Have you not seen the most recent interim agricultural inflation figures from AF, the UK’s largest farmer-owned shopping for co-operative?

AF is owned by 3,000 farmer members and, despite the fact that it prides itself on utilizing its collective buying energy to drive a tough cut price, in simply the previous six months its farming inputs worth index has elevated by 23.28%, on prime of a 22% improve within the earlier 12 months to September 2021.

Yes, that’s proper, Mr Eustice, over the previous 18 months I’ve seen my beef and lamb manufacturing prices escalate by 45%.

Over the identical interval, my farmgate beef and lamb costs have risen, however by barely half that a lot.

Which brings me to the final paragraph of your letter, the place you make the purpose that your BPS choice “wouldn’t have been attainable beneath the EU”.

Well, as you insist on elevating the UK’s current lack of EU membership… have been the UK nonetheless a member, you wouldn’t have been capable of reduce my BPS by 25% already, and suggest to abolish it completely by 2027.

Nor, had the UK nonetheless been a member of the EU, would the federal government of which you’re a minister have been free to signal free-trade offers with Australia and New Zealand that threaten to undercut beef and sheep farmers in Great Britain, each by way of farmgate costs and animal welfare requirements.

I’m sorry if my letter doesn’t sound extra grateful, however I believe it’s necessary that, as the person in control of my business, you’re correctly knowledgeable of the truth of manufacturing beef and lamb in Great Britain.

Kind regards,

Stephen Carr

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