Rory and European Parliament candidate Kevin Beaty
are calling on all farmers across Cumbria to have their say on
plans for the reform of farm payments from Europe. Currently,
the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) is looking at proposals to take 15 per cent of payments to
redistribute to targeted environmental schemes, in plans known as
modulation. DEFRA is currently consulting with farmers across the
country and local MP Rory wants all farmers to make their views known
before any decision is taken. He particularly wants small lowland
farmers to have their say as they could be heavily affected by any

Speaking today Rory said: “Cumbrian farmers will be aware
of my opinion, which is that more emphasis on agri-environmental
schemes that champion biodiversity and carbon capture are not the
answer to our farmers’ problems. From what I have seen, environmental
policies can often work against small farms, reducing the number of
sheep on the fells for example, and making it increasingly difficult
for our industry. Above all, we need to retain some flexibility for
farmers as a key outcome of CAP negotiations. Farmers now have an
opportunity to engage in the current consultation on CAP reform and
the modulation of payments, and I strongly encourage them to get
involved and – using their local knowledge and expertise – to
demonstrate wth concrete examples how these proposals will affect
them. Voluntarily transferring the maximum 15% of funds would not be
without its problems, and would place our farmers at a significant
disadvantage to our European neighbours.”

Kevin Beaty, a Cumbrian dairy farmer, is also a Conservative MEP
candidate for next year’s European elections. He believes the proposed
DEFRA changes could potentially reduce the income of small livestock
and dairy farmers and wants them to make their voices heard. He said:
“Lowland livestock and dairy farmers in particular need to consider the
proposals very carefully. They need to look closely at their reliance on
single payment and also whether they can qualify for payments from planned
environmental schemes. I would urge all farmers to engage with DEFRA on
their consultation or speak to their local NFU office for advice.”

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