CAP reform update December 2013

CAP reform Q&A - General

Defra’s announcement on the 14 August gives answers to most of the questions.

For other common Q&As regarding the CAP reform, please navigate through the tabs below.



1. I understand that I must put 5% of my arable land in an Environmental Focus Area and will have to grow a number of crops but there are pages to read. How much of the detail do I really need to understand?

Nearly all arable farmers growing three crops will meet the crop diversification requirement. Most growing peas or beans will meet the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirement. Many in a Stewardship scheme, or with a network of hedges and in particular ditches, will also meet the EFA requirement (several options count as fallow (including wildbird seed, margins and field corners) and some margins will count as buffer strips making an even higher contribution). If needed any hedgerows or catch crops prior to spring cropping may be used to top up to the required EFA area and can be added later. You should be aware of a few other changes such as to cross compliance (particularly the extension of the period when hedges cannot be cut, which in 2015 will be the end of August) but if you meet the rules now you should have few other conditions to meet.

2. So is it that easy?

It is not so easy for some livestock farmers growing more than 30 ha of a single arable crop such as maize for silage or barley for feed to meet the crop diversification requirement. Temporary grass might count as a crop but if another crop were needed the practical choice is small. Some arable units with, for example, small areas on contract farming agreements may be better converting these to tenancies or other ngements.

3. I am 37. Will I qualify as a young farmer and be eligible for a payment top up?

Potentially yes, up to when you reach 40 if you are also in control of the holding so have the major share holding or partnership share.

4. When will the reform be finalised?

The EU had to be informed of most decisions by 1 August. Unfortunately these are top-level decisions and do not contain all the detail necessary for the practical decision to be made at farm level. A sequence of announcements are expected as Defra reach a conclusion or receive definitive guidance on what is permitted from the Commission. Less crucial decisions for most farmers may not be clear until December or even next spring.

5. I assume I will still have to meet cross compliance rules?

Yes but there are a number of changes. In England, the good news is that the soil protection review is no longer required although hedges cannot be cut until the end of August from 2015. Cross compliance varies between England, Scotland and Wales.



Key contacts

Andrew Wraith

Andrew Wraith

Food & Farming

Savills Lincoln

+44 (0) 1522 508 973

+44 (0) 1522 508 973