27 July 2017
Jersey has already adopted a new way of providing financial support to farmers that the UK may now consider.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, MP announced recently that the current UK system for providing financial support to farmers could be altered to pay farmers for environmental improvements after the UK has left the EU.
Under the current Common Agricultural Policy, EU farmers are paid according to the amount of land they farm. This could be replaced in the UK by an approach that puts environmental protection and improvement first.
The Department of the Environment and the Department for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture launched a new rural support system earlier this year as part of an updated Rural Economy Strategy 2017 – 2021 (RES). It’s being rolled out now and will provide financial support for rural businesses according to the environmental and social benefits they provide.
UK Environment Secretary
The new scheme was among the issues Jersey’s Minister for the Environment, Deputy Steve Luce, discussed with the Environment Secretary Michael Gove in Wales earlier this week at the Royal Welsh Show.
By the end of this October, most Island farmers or land managers will have joined at least the first level of an independently audited scheme that incentivises businesses to farm in the most economically and environmentally sustainable way.
The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, Senator Lyndon Farnham said “Jersey’s new Rural Support Scheme is a unique, ground-breaking approach to supporting local agriculture. It unites farmers and government in providing the public with necessary environmental goods and services, and also consumers and customers in local and export markets, with the highest level of food assurance, demonstrating that our farmers can produce food to the highest standards in the world.”
Higher level scheme
By the end of 2019, it is expected that all farmers and land managers receiving financial support from the States will be part of the scheme at a higher level. Those that choose not to join the scheme won’t be eligible to apply for financial support.
Deputy Luce was in Wales for one of the largest agricultural shows in Europe at the invitation of the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM. He also met the First Minister of Wales, the Rt. Hon Carwyn Jones AM.
During the three-day visit, discussions touched on fishing industry sustainability, the impact of Brexit on marine and rural affairs, Jersey’s Rural Economy Strategy, and veterinary issues.