Farmers have just days left to make their views known on changes in Common Agricultural Policy rules that if implemented could deal them a severe financial blow.
Ben Compton, Rural Surveyor with Bruton Knowles, who have offices in Gloucester and Bristol says the new “greening” rules could hit many of the region’s farmers severely, with a 30% cut in payments received if scheme changes are not adhered to.
The “greening” rules are designed to encourage agricultural practices beneficial for the climate or the environment. Under the proposed changes, set to be introduced in 2015, there will be a rule that farmers with more than 30 hectares of arable land should grow at least three different crops.
These changes will affect many farmers including those who grow maize for anaerobic digestion plants that provide renewable energy.
Ben Compton said: “Views must be submitted to DEFRA by November 28 and it is important that as many people as possible who rely on the rural economy have a say.
“Certain types of farmers will face severe problems if the proposed changes are introduced. Specialists will be hit as well as those who use a contractor that block crops land each year for efficiency and to maximise returns.
“Farmers will have to adapt their systems or lose out financially. The new rules over land currently used to feed anaerobic digestion plants will also mean that those who rent land nearby could suffer from a knock-on effect.
“They will face increased competition for their land and that is likely to push rental levels up.”
Bruton Knowles act for many rural landowners in the region and will be helping them to cope with the impact of the changes proposed.