Agricultural Policy

UK ‘Listed Status’ Welcome but No ‘Silver Bullet’ For Exports

Environmental Secretary Theresa Villiers confirmed this month that the UK has secured ‘national listed status’ which allows for the export of animal products to continue if there is a no-deal Brexit.  This move provides certainty to a market which, according to defra, is worth more than £5 billion per year.

Notwithstanding the fact that this is a step in the right direction, the FUW remains concerned that this is no ‘silver bullet’ as UK producers will still need to meet new requirements and face potentially disastrous tariff rates and Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

For example, under current no deal Brexit scenarios, UK cheddar exports would face a 57% tariff whereas the tariff for cheddar imported into the UK would be set at just 7%.  The same applies to beef carcasses - UK exports to the EU would attract a 70% tariff compared with a 37% import tariff.  For beef, this sits amidst a, TRQ of 124,000 tonnes which would not attract any tariff at all.  These tariffs set by the UK Government risk opening the door to food produced to much lower animal health and environmental standards and could undermine the viability and sustainability of UK producers.
 

Republic Of Ireland Income Tax Relief Promotes Agricultural Lettings

In an attempt to encourage longer term agreements and increased productivity, the Republic of Ireland has adopted an approach which increases income tax reliefs for farmland lettings of more than 5 years.

As a result, farmland area let in the Republic of Ireland increased from 2% in 2011 to 7% in 2017.  Following the scheme, approximately 450,000 acres were let under new agreements between 2015 and 2017, and Ireland now has more letting agreements than Great Britain which are longer than 5 years duration.

Farm Business Tenancy agreements significantly contribute to Wales’ agricultural sector - Welsh Government figures show that 9% of holdings that applied for BPS in 2018 were wholly tenanted whilst 39% were mixed ownership.  However, the Farm Business Survey (FBS) estimates that 35% of rental agreements in 2017-18 were for less than 12 months and the FUW believes that the positive impact of tax relief in Ireland could be seen as a lesson for the UK.

The FUW continues to lobby for greater support for tenant farmers.  The Sustainable Farming and our Land consultation considers the importance of ensuring that tenants can access the new ‘public goods’ derived scheme, but there remains uncertainty as to how those with shorter tenancy agreements could receive payments for implementing long-term actions.  The FUW will be responding to this consultation in due course and will ensure that, amongst the number of issues facing the sector, the particular issues facing tenant farmers are fully recognised. 
 

News in Brief

i) Cross Border Trading In Ireland At Risk

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has expressed major concerns over the potential demand for Export Health Certificates (EHCs) post Brexit.  Any business that exports live animals or animal products, including any products that contain animal derived ingredients, from the UK into the EU will require an EHC signed by a certified Vet.

FUW agree that the potential spike in demand for EHCs across the UK could place significant pressure on governing bodies and those certified Vets who must sign each and every certificate.  This new requirement alone could delay exporting products to the EU and particularly cross-border in Ireland.

ii) MEPs Accept New EU Farm Commissioner

Members of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee have accepted Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski as the next EU Farm Chief.  The committee Chairman Norbert Lins states that the committee is ready to push for actions towards a successful Common Agricultural Policy.


iii) German Farmers Protest Against ‘Excessive Regulation’
Farmers in Germany have caused significant disruption to traffic by staging a nationwide protest against new agri-environmental regulations. 

Thousands of producers attended the protests across Germany opposing what is considered to be excessive regulation in the fields of environmental and animal protection. 

R.A.B.I Offer Emergency Payments To Those Affected By Tomlinson’s

The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) is now offering emergency payments to those farmers that have been affected by the administration of Tomlinson's Dairies.
Grants of up to £3,000 are available to affected producers from the emergency fund, but applicants MUST call the R.A.B.I helpline - 0808 281 9490 to request an application form.  The application form has been simplified due to the urgency of payments.  Please contact your local FUW office if you require help or information.

Expression of Interest Window Dates

Scheme Summary Window Open Window Close
BPS Transfer of Entitlements You can now transfer BPS entitlements through sale, lease or inheritance.  It must be accessed through the RPW online account.  The recipient of entitlements transferred by sale or lease must meet the Active Farmer requirements (see SAF Rules for details). 3 June 2019 30 April 2020
Farming Connect November Skills and Training Application The next skills funding application window is now open for up to 80% subsidised training.  There are 3 steps to applying:
1) Register with Farming Connect before 28th October
2) Complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) on the Business Wales website to help identify which courses are available and most suitable for improving your skills.
3) Apply for the desired training course(s) during the application window.
Click here for more information on the courses available and PDP workshop dates.
  1 November 2019
Glastir Advanced, Commons or Organic Contracts Those who have contracts that are due to expire at the end of 2019 will be offered a contract renewal to 2021 in October.  You must accept or decline the offer via RPW online as soon as possible.
 
   

Glastir Woodland Creation
The current EOI window is open and has been allocated £2 million. 30 September 2019 8 November 2019
Glastir Capital Works Check your RPW online accounts for any notifications of unclaimed Capital Works.  All unclaimed Capital Works must be completed by 31 December 2019 and claimed no later than 28 January 2020.   31 December 2019
Water Abstraction Licences

You must apply for a water abstraction licence if you take more than 20 cubic meters (4,400 gallons) per day from a surface or groundwater source.  Continuing to abstract this amount of water without submitting an application after 2019 will be a criminal offence.
See here for more information.

  31 December 2019

Food Business Investment Scheme

The next EOI window for the Food Business Investment Scheme is now open.  The scheme is designed to help primary producers of agricultural products in Wales to add value to their outputs. 17 October 2019 28 November 2019

 

COVID-19 - Important Information for our members and customers

 

In view of the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’ve taken the decision to help protect members, customers and colleagues by closing all FUW offices.

All staff will be working remotely for the foreseeable future, meaning our team will be continuing with exactly the same service but over the phone/email/skype or other means of remote communication instead. 

Members and customers should continue to contact us as they would, as all our team can be contacted via the usual phone numbers. 

We will be making sure that our service levels are maintained. SAF/IACS appointments will carry on as normal but will be conducted over the phone. 

Contact details for your local office can be found here: https://www.fuw.org.uk/en/contact-us 

 

Important links relating to the Coronavirus:


The TB Hub have prepared a list of FAQs regarding how TB procedures will be affected by the virus: https://tbhub.co.uk/statutory-tb-testing-of-cattle-in-gb-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

Red Tractor Updated Covid-19 position here: https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

Livestock Auctioneers Association LAA - 25/03/2020: https://www.laa.co.uk/news/3989/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-to-members-and-farmers/

Business Wales (including details of coronavirus support for businesses): https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) available through participating lenders: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/

National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) guidance on Coronavirus: https://www.naac.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-issued-to-contractors/

National Milk Recording services 24/03/2020: https://www.nmr.co.uk/about-us/coronavirus

Senedd Research Blog: https://seneddresearch.blog/2020/03/17/coronavirus-constituency-support/