New ELM schemes must drive productivity in the arable sector – NFU

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has today stressed the need for future Environmental and Land Management (ELM) schemes to be “straightforward and compatible with food production”.

Speaking on the prospects for the combinable crops sector at the CropTec show, NFU chief combinable crops adviser Jack Watts emphasised that direct payments play a huge role in underpinning farming businesses.

As a result, he said that if Government is to deliver a ‘Green Brexit’, new schemes must encourage productivity and build resilience in businesses.

Watts said it was also important any future scheme would provide certainty for the arable sector, especially in periods of volatile prices and low crop yield.

“The new ELM schemes, which will be implemented over the course of the agricultural transition period, are an opportunity to refine the payments system to ensure that farmers are paid a fair reward.

“In the arable sector, farmers face volatile markets and uncertain crop yields. Since 2012, we have seen four years where the average cereal farm actually lost money on crop production, and financial support was critical in keeping businesses afloat.

“With Brexit meaning direct payments will be phased out from 2021, the NFU is urging Government to ensure the ELM schemes are straightforward, compatible with food production and build financial resilience so the arable sector can continue to produce quality, affordable food for the British public while delivering important environmental benefits.”