Posted 28 February 2014
Farming Minister, George Eustice, announced plans to give extra support to young farmers during a visit to Harper Adams University this week.
He visited Shropshire’s first university to meet with students and learn about the latest developments in teaching and research.
Mr Eustice’s announcement outlined proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This included details of England’s implementation of the EU’s Young Farmers Scheme – which gives extra support to farmers under forty years of age. Defra’s intention is to apply this support to the maximum land area of farms.
Young farmers will be able to claim a top-up payment for up to ninety hectares of their holding for the first five years of its operation.
Professor Peter Mills hosted the visit. He said: “It was a pleasure to host the Minister’s visit and significant that he chose Harper Adams as the venue to announce these changes to the CAP.
“It was also an opportunity to discuss with the Minister Harper Adams’s potential role in helping to deliver the Government’s Agri-Tech strategy.”
During the visit, Mr Eustice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, met with many students including Rory Craig, Amy May, Drew Patrick and Matt Wright.
Speaking of their meeting with the minister, 22-year-old agriculture student, Drew Patrick from Haverfordwest, said: “It was nice to see a member of Parliament listen to what we had to say and his interest in the younger generation of farmers and ways in how to make it easier for young people not from agricultural backgrounds to get involved in the industry.”
Rory Craig, 21, from Hatfield studies BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Farm Business Management. He said: "It's reassuring to see that the Government is conscious of the struggles that young farmers may face when entering the industry, and that it is willing to offer incentives to help keep them in the sector.
"Meeting someone such as Mr Eustice is always an honour, and it is nice to know that members of Parliament are willing to listen to the opinions of the younger generation."
Also announced by Defra were other changes to the CAP - the plan to provide funding for farmers and land managers who deliver benefits for wildlife, improve water quality and create woodland.
During EU negotiations on the CAP, the UK pressed for each country to have the option to channel a greater proportion of funding into delivering environmental benefits. As a result, £3.1billion of funding will be available for environmental schemes in England which is a higher proportion of the CAP budget than ever before.