Despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the new Agriculture Bill has been working its way through the parliamentary process so could soon provide the framework for a new UK Agricultural Policy. Meanwhile, pilots for the new Environmental Land Management Scheme are soon to begin and we await details of rural socio-economic funding via the Shared Prosperity Fund.

However, is this all going to be wasted effort?

If there is an extended delay to Brexit, or, probably more likely, the original referendum result is reversed, then UK agriculture will again find itself in the familiar embrace of the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

Given where we are, it would seem sensible to keep an eye on the new CAP as it may end up being more relevant to your business than ELMS! So here are a few of the highlights proposed for CAP post 2020.

The EU is planning on a 5 per cent reduction in the budget for the remaining 27 Members States, reflecting he decline in funds available without the UK contributions.

The policy is structured around 9 objectives: Fair Income, Increase Competitiveness, Rebalance Power in the Food Chain, Climate Change Action, Environmental Care, Preserve Landscapes & Biodiversity, Support Generational Renewal, Vibrant Rural Areas and Protect Food & Health Quality.

The BPS type approach will be retained with hectarage payments being made. A higher level of support will be provided for small and medium sized farmers. Thus, area payments will taper after E60,000 and the maximum area payment that can be received by a farm will be E100,000.

Agri-environmental schemes will be replaced by Eco-Schemes as well as Agri-Environment-Climate Measures. Member States must have at least one of each scheme, as approved by the EU in a single delivery plan, which will be monitored by the EU on an annual basis

Crop diversification (the 3 crop rule) will be replaced by crop rotation.

As stated in every CAP reform, administration will be streamlined with the focus on outputs. With the benefit of experience, and with the additional complexities outlined above, this seems less likely than ever before.