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NFU proposing three-phase plan for CAP reform; farming.

Byline: graeme whitfield graeme.whitfield@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE NFU has set out a threephase approach for the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) when Britain leaves the EU.

The organisation has called on the government to outline plans for continuing farm support, saying an early answer is crucial to provide confidence to the agricultural industry. It has called for a two-year phase where existing CAP measures would be largely preserved to deliver stability and continuity for farmers reliant on CAP payments. A second phase would focus on reviewing farm support, while the third would be what the NFU has called "the switch to a new, bold and ambitious domestic agricultural policy".

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: "We know that forming a future domestic agricultural policy presents a huge opportunity for government to set out a framework for support that promotes profitability, productivity and progressiveness on British farms.

"But at the forefront of many farmers' minds is the shift from an EU policy to domestic one and what this will mean for their businesses.

"And this is why a well-thoughtout transition - as set out in the NFU's three-stage process - is vital to ensuring as much certainty and stability as possible. Different political decisions and their implementation will have differing impacts on farming's readiness to move away from the current CAP.

"With a Brexit settlement that promotes a positive future for British farming, the first two phases could be completed in four years with a new system implemented as early as 2023. But a disruptive Brexit that damages the prospects of British farming would mean maintaining the stability of the current system for a much longer period.

"What is clear is farming's appetite to move to a new way of doing things that promotes greater productivity on farms, protects and enhances the environment, and guards against volatility in the sector.

"However, past experience has shown that CAP reform decisions have often been implemented in a rush or in the absence of policy certainty, and have created significant delivery problems and delays to payments for farmers.

"While it might appear attractive to make fundamental changes to the CAP schemes on day one of Brexit, the NFU feels there is a balance to be struck between ensuring regulatory stability and effective delivery of a new policy on the one hand and the ambition for tangible change in our agricultural support regime in the short to medium term post-Brexit.

"I am very pleased our vision chimes with the Prime Minister's recent commitment to a transitional period after the UK leaves the EU, which we hope has prepared the ground for both sides to make progress in Brexit negotiations."

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National Farmers Union President Meurig Raymond

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 4, 2017
Words:453
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