Subsidies “unlikely” to disappear in 2012

Single farm payments are unlikely to disappear fully in 2012, a Defra representative has admitted.

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was planning to cut single farm payments in 2012 under CAP reform, but the department's head of livestock John Bourne has said although the subsidies will decrease, it is unlikely they will disappear altogether.

Bourne told delegates at the 12th annual Langford Food Industry conference that the onset of recession, declining livestock production and increasing pressure for European protectionism are likely to delay the European switch from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2 of the CAP, which replaces single farm payments with agri-environmental schemes and other rural development measures.

“Given the current agricultural situation in Europe, I don’t think that Pillar 1 is likely to disappear in 2012,” he said.
“Single farm payments will certainly reduce, but I don’t think they will disappear.”

Richard Brown, director of food consultancy firm GIRA, welcomed the news, but said that if the single farm payment is likely to continue past 2012, the government urgently needs to get that message out to farmers.

“There needs to be a more realistic hope of profit if farming levels are to increase. The industry needs confidence and the government is not giving them that confidence. Farmers need to know that subsidies will not disappear.”

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