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Are we kicking the can down the road with BPS reductions

Are we kicking the can down the road with BPS reductions

I imagine most farmers in the devolved nations are watching the latest episode of drama in English farming with a close eye.

The NFU have called on the Government to "do the right thing" and halt the reductions in BPS payments for this year following issues with rolling out the Sustainable Farm Incentive (SFI).

Some backstory: the 2023 SFI was due to open in August with payments to farmers being made in December. Delays in the roll out means it won't open until late September with payments being made in 2024.

Couple this with high interest rates, high farm input costs and BPS reductions of up to 50%:

It's fair to say that shit is getting real for a lot of English farmers.
Source: The path to sustainable farming - agricultural transition plans 2021/2024

So what should we do and what's my take on the situation?

The argument for...

The NFU have good grounds to halt BPS reduction. Government have failed to deliver on one of the key BPS replacement schemes and it's ultimately farming families that will pay the price.

The argument against...

We're simply kicking the can down the road with BPS reductions and transitioning to a new way of working. No one said it would be easy and there were always going to be bumps along the way. Delaying reductions in BPS is just going to prolong the agony.

My take...

This saga feeds into my general feelings about farming subsidies in that, as an industry, we look to Government for help rather than sort it out ourselves.

Cock-ups were inevitable in rolling out a scheme of this size for the first time and we've had plenty of time to prepare for it.

I believe we're just kicking the can down the road and run the risk of prolonging the agony of the already drawn-out transition period.

I also think there are no indications from Government that they plan to halt BPS reductions so all the NFU lobbying will have gone to waste.

I could be wrong though.....time will tell.

If you are a farmer in the devolved nations, then take this as a warning of what's to come. You're respective transitions won't be smooth or straight forward and no amount of complaining to MP's will improve the situation.

Put plans in place now and have financial backups to protect you when the inevitable cock ups do happen.

You've been warned!

Until next week.....