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Sustain's submission to the EFRA Committee's inquiry on ELM and the agricultural transition

We welcome the opportunity to respond to the EFRA Committee inquiry on the Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition

Credit: James Woodward

Credit: James Woodward

Our primary reason for writing this submission is that we feel there is still a lack of detail on the support mechanisms available to farmers. We want to see an aspiration of public money for public goods and fully support farmers and Defra in aiming high to achieve this.

Sustain's response - EFRA Committee Inquiry: Environmental Land Management and the agricultural transition


These are some of the key points we provide in our response:

  • The lack of detail on the agricultural transition schemes and Environmental Land Management (ELM) are hindering farmers’ abilities to plan ahead with enough certainty.
  • That the initial 4-year direct payment reductions are swift in the grand scheme of the wider shift to a new farming policy direction and that a high percentage of farms need a safety net support mechanism to make necessary changes to adapt over a slightly longer timeframe – this also links to the above issue of farmers not being able to plan with enough certainty.
  • The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) is lacking in ambition to reward and encourage farmers to progress towards higher standards of farming (such as organic, pasture-fed and agroforestry whole farm systems).
  • The lack of information on payment methodology and rates, and that the direction of income foregone plus costs announced by Defra in November will not be adequate to incentivise public goods outcomes.
  • That entry level requirements might have one of two effects: 1) not attract enough farmers into ELM; or 2) discourage farmers to progress up to the higher standards within the SFI and ELM.
  • That free at the point of delivery environmental advice is not being considered for the SFI and that this may hinder farmers in delivering public goods.

We have been pleased to submit to this EFRA inquiry.

You can find our full response here.

Published 29 Jan 2021

Sustainable farming policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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