Are You Fit For CAP?
George F White has recently hosted a series of CAP seminars across the region. Taking farmers through the basics of the new scheme, yet looking closely at the detail to work out what can be done now in preparation for next year and a completely new scheme.
With several hundred farmers attending the “are you Fit for CAP” seminars it is clear that many are feeling confused and worried about the new scheme. Louis Fell, Partner at George F White who talked at Alnwick said “with such big changes to the subsidy system we knew that many farmers across the region would want to make plans for next year as soon as possible. We hosted the seminars across the region to give farmers an opportunity to understand what they can and need to be doing now.
Our advice is that there is sufficient information available to enable planning for next year, to work out whether you need to adjust your system for the 3 crop rule; what the possibilities are on your farm for the EFA requirements. With over 30% of the subsidy at stake it’s important to play it safe this year, not to cut the margins too tight – take the time available now, to plan how it will piece together on your farm. There are concerns over double counting and double funding, and the position on this is very unclear, so our advice is to be cautious this coming year – make sure you have your requirements covered.
We know what the areas of concern are, and we have designed a series of tools to easily assist farmers. With many farmers having smaller areas cropped, some of the exemptions to the greening requirement could apply, however it is crucial that they understand the rules to exemption. Without wishing to be alarmist – it’s essential in this first year to play it safe, be over cautious on the areas needed, and not to be worried about seeking that reassurance that you’re doing it right – it’s a new scheme with a lot to take on board”.
There was much discussion about what the level of future payments would be and questions from the events covered every aspect of the subsidy system, with particular concern over many aspects of the greening requirement and the penalties for non-compliance. Entitlement trading and the rules on usage were also a hot topic, with many wanting to gain extra entitlements, and many now needing to sell.