Michael Gove’s reform of England’s farm support system will provide opportunities for the pig sector, according to the NPA.
The Defra Secretary has published a consultation paper today setting out plans to redirect money from the current direct payment support system to a new system of paying farmers ‘public money for public goods’ after we leave the EU. The change will be phased in during an ‘agricultural transition’ lasting a number of years beyond the Brexit implementation period.
NPA chairman Richard Lister said: “As an historically unsupported sector, we welcome potential opportunities that might arise under this new public goods definition for Government support.”
The NPA, which believes Brexit offers real opportunities for the pig sector alongside some obvious risks, is currently consulting its members on what the pig sector’s priorities should be under a new domestic support policy. It is putting these ideas together in a new Pig Prospects document which will be shared with Government.
Mr Lister added: “Under these reforms, we believe there could be scope to incentivise investment to improve productivity and efficiency, help meet the antibiotic challenge and continue to deliver the high standards of animal welfare the market desires. We would also welcome investment to support marketing at home and overseas, improve skills and training and promote uptake of new technology.
“Any new support mechanisms, whether in the form of grants, tax or interest relief must be voluntary and must not impose additional complexity and restrictions on businesses.
“However, public financial support is not our main Brexit focus. Our priorities continue to be securing trade deals that allow continued access to the EU and do not risk undermining our industry with lower standard imports, access to permanent EU labour that this industry relies so heavily on and robust disease control and surveillance measures. We also see Brexit as an opportunity for a more proportionate regulatory regime.”
The NPA will issue a detailed response to the consultation.