In February 2021 the LNP, in partnership with Gloucestershire NFU, hosted an event to provide farmers with information about the direction of travel for farming and farm support in the UK post Brexit. The Agriculture Bill represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to evolve public support for farmers to continue to deliver environmental benefits through their land management practices, in line with the aims of the 25 Year Environment Plan.
ELM, the Environmental Land Management scheme, is a key policy for delivering this. Level 1 of ELM, called the Sustainable Farming Incentive, will be launched later this year and will be the first chance many have of engaging with the new scheme. Catherine Boyd from DEFRA presented at our webinar to lay out what this looks like. One key takeaway message was that the best thing farmers can do right now is to get into Stewardship agreements - doing so will in no way disadvantage them from becoming involved in any aspect of the new scheme.
Many farmers have already had the chance to interact with the co-design of ELM, through one of the Tests and Trials in Gloucestershire. The project leads of these Tests and Trials (Tim Bevan from GWT, Jenny Phelps from FWAG and Mark Connelly from the AONB) also presented at the webinar, to share what they have learnt. Some are ongoing, and both Jenny and Tim requested farmers who have had no previous experience of ELM to get in touch.
James Cox, county Chair of the NFU in Gloucestershire led a lively Q&A session.