Direct payments to be capped - Thorne Widgery

The European Union (EU) has proposed a cap of €100,000 (£87,000) on direct payments to farmers in the UK, under the next round of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), in a bid to modernise and simplify the CAP.

Other changes will also mean that farmers across the bloc will be expected to implement more environmental measures in return for the payments.

According to European farm commissioner Phil Hogan, the changes will help the EU to ensure a more resilient agricultural sector in Europe while increasing the ambition of the CAP in relation to the environment and climate change.

At least 30 per cent of each rural development national allocation will be dedicated to environmental and climate measures, while 40 per cent of the CAP’s overall budget is expected to contribute to climate action.

At the same time, he said that the new CAP would help the EU to ensure fair and better targeted support of farmers’ income as they will give member states greater flexibility and responsibility for choosing how and where to invest their CAP funding.

Member states will have the option of transferring up to 15 per cent of their CAP allocations between direct payments and rural development, and vice versa, to ensure that their priorities and measures can be funded.

Priority will be given to supporting the small and medium-sized farms that constitute the majority of the EU’s farming sector and helping young farmers. However, smaller farms will have to set aside at least two per cent of their direct payment allocation to help young farmers get set up.