Farming News - Committee probes post-Brexit farm payments

Committee probes post-Brexit farm payments

20 Jul 2022
Frontdesk / Finance

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee is to examine the government’s progress rolling out its new farm payment system - the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) - which will replace payments made under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

ELMS will pay farmers and other landowners for delivering a range of ‘public goods’ including improved environment, better climate outcomes and improved animal health & welfare. The Government launched the strand of the policy aimed at farmers, the Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI), in June 2022, with other schemes due to be piloted later this year.  

The new inquiry – called Environmental Land Management Scheme: Progress Update – will look at: 

  • how the rollout of the ELMS scheme is going, and whether the Government has listened to feedback from the pilot schemes; 
  • how well the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is communicating the changes to farmers and other affected groups; and 
  • whether the ELMS aims and timescales need to change to respond to pressures facing farming such as increased fuel and fertiliser costs, as well as changing food prices.

The committee has looked at the government’s plans for ELMS before and published a report on it in October 2021, Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition.

The Chair of the EFRA Committee, Sir Robert Goodwill said

“ELMS is the biggest change to agricultural and environmental policy for years and farmers are understandably concerned about what will replace the subsidies that many have come to rely on.  

“As we are now starting to see the detail of the Government’s plans, we want to hear farmers and landowners’ views on the new system and how well they think DEFRA’s rollout is going.  

“Our food producers are facing a lot of challenges right now. So my committee wants to explore whether DEFRA is right to be sticking to the planned seven year transition to the new payments system. We’ll look into whether it may need to adapt its plans to respond to increased costs for feed, fuel and energy, as well as to rising food prices – all of which might make some farmers less keen to enter these schemes”.   

The Terms of Reference for the forthcoming committee inquiry are:  

  1. What progress has the ELMS programme made since January 2022 (when the government responded to the first committee report on ELMS)?
  2. What have farmers’ experiences been of applying to the SFI since its launch on 30 June 2022? How effectively has the scheme used the feedback from the SFI pilot? What are the timescales for launching additional standards under the SFI?
  3. Is the government on track to get 70% of farmers, covering at least 70% of farmland, to take up SFI agreements? How have recent changes in global food prices impacted on the attractiveness of the financial incentives in the schemes?
  4. Is ELMS on track to start piloting the Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes in 2022?
  5. How effectively is the Government communicating and engaging with farmers and other landowner groups about the progress of ELMS?
  6. Should the Government change the focus on the ELMS scheme and/or the timescales for implementation given the current pressures on farmers and UK food security?

Get Involved

Everyone is welcome to submit their views in writing here. For general information on how to submit written information to us, and how we then use that information, please see here. 

The closing date for submission of written evidence is Sunday 21 August.