Recently I was fortunate enough to meet with Liberal Democrat MEP Andrew Duff and his team along with my colleagues to discuss the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the current reform proposals and the need for a fairer CAP for wildlife, farmers and the EU tax payer.
We had a wide ranging discussion including the current situation in Cyprus regarding the continued, illegal and unnecessary slaughter of migrant bird species. Andrew was deeply concerned over the current situation and clearly wanted to do more and will be in further discussions with RSPB’s Birdlife partner; Birdlife Cyprus.
Andrew was also concerned over how CAP money was and could be spent but importantly we discussed how this money can be spent in good value for money agri-environment options and schemes ensuring the correct land management options at the right scale are selected as we have done at Hope Farm and a growing minority of farmers are doing so here and here and as one farmer Janet Herbert I work with stated; "I consider wildlife to be part of my farm business, and I try to cater for its needs just as I would a crop of wheat. Taxpayers are making a considerable contribution to my income, and I like to think they're getting value for money”
I’m hopeful that Andrew Duff will be a voice in Europe for nature friendly farmers everywhere, they and the wildlife need him and others.
Well get the schemes changed to where the big benefits will be,farmers are no exception to the rule that everyone in the world takes the easiest option.
Simple fact is farmers do not get the scheme money unless they fulfil the scheme requirements.
Hi Sooty, perhaps not:
Regardless of that it is right to spend public money to deliver public benefits but it is wrong to continually spend that same public money on stuff that literally provides zero public benefits.
Simon ---your comment might be right for you me and 2% of population but if you fight for the money to go where the public benefits most of the money will go to people who never go into wildlife places and no interest in it,most being city dwellers who would find other ways the public taxes should be spent than on wildlife improvement.
Sooty - thank you for the comment. I agree a change is needed to ensure the right options at the right scale.
However, It is also a real risk that there isn't going to be enough money for agri-environment but there will be lots of money in the system, just not being spent in the most efficient way - which is undoubtedly agri-environment.
There is a lot of money tied up in CAP which doesn't help farmers who need the money the most or deliver real public benefits - it should be through this reform that MEP's (who will be involved in the process), fight to ensure a fairer CAP for continued public investment and that goes to where it delivers real public benefits.
Think lots of farmers are doing the schemes but obviously the schemes need changing as farmers are just like everyone else if they get paid for doing simple things in schemes that give little improvement to wildlife well that's what they will do,get the schemes changed to give bigger rewards for those things that do more good like areas of wild bird seed,nectar rich margins and Skylark patches.No one should expect them to take the more difficult options for the same money.