General News

General News

Electronic movement reporting consultation launched

On 29 July 2013, DEFRA launched a consultation which paves the way for the introduction of the new sheep database and reporting system in England in spring 2014. This consultation also relates to goats and deer although as little change is proposed, the NFU response will focus on sheep. This consultation covers several areas including some less controversial housekeeping changes that must be made to the regulations; however it includes the proposal to remove the derogation for non-electronic slaughter tags.

The key points to consider include:

Report: the impact of moorland grazing and stocking rates

Natural England acknowledges that there remains concern and disagreement about the effects of grazing on the upland landscape and biodiversity, in particular about stocking rates, different livestock types, and the timing and spatial pattern of grazing regimes. The purpose of this report was to comprehensively review the effects of different grazing regimes and stocking rates

80% of moorland commons are claiming SPS

Figures from the Rural Payments Agency show that SPS is claimed on around 78% of all comon land in England. Over 80% of the moorland commons are coverd by SPS claims and SPS is paid on around two thirds of lowland commons.

The total value of SPS claims on common land is  £19,313,847 of which £9,135,589 is paid out to moorand commons, but a further £7,335,784 is not claimed for this is mainly on the lowland commons.

Farmers should be rewarded for ecosystems services delivery

Farmers and land managers should be appropriately rewarded for the work they do in maintaining and enhancing the supply of ecosystems services from the UK countryside is one of the recommendations from CRE Policy Brief 3 "What do ecosystems services offer the UK rural economy?" Centre for Rural Economy, University of Newcastle.

What are ecosystems services?

Ecosystem services include the essential natural services provided by the land, including:

Some good new for upland farmers

RDPE Transition - Environmental Stewardship

The current Rural Development Programme (RDP) is due to finish at the end of this year, but the next RDP will not start until 2015.  Pending agreement on the legal basis and rural development budgets, Defra are planning to offer £30 million to spend on Environmental Stewardship in 2014, which is very welcome news for hill farmers in the Lake District and other upland

The bulk of this (£26 million) will be spent on top priority Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements, to be targeted at:

United Utilities draft Water Resources Management Plan

You may wish to comment on United Utilities (UU) draft Water Resources Plan (WRMP) before the Consultation period closes on 6th August. The plan sets out how – for the 25 year period between 2015 – 20140 - UU intends to provide enough quality water to meet customer needs at an affordable price without damaging the environment.

Update of CAP negotiations

Taken from NSA Members’ Update 28th June 2013

Political agreement was finally reached on the future CAP after The Commission, The Council, and the EU Parliament came to an agreement this Wednesday the 26th June.  The deal is yet to be formally approved by Council and EU Parliament and there are still some outstanding issues to be dealt with, in particular the moving of funds between Pillar 1 and 2, rates of member state co-financing and the question of capping large payments.

New Coalition to campaign for High Nature Value Farming

The Federation of Cumbria Commoners is a member of a coalition of 18 organisations that have written to Owen Paterson MP - the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and also to the agriculture ministers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland - warning them of the impending crisis facing wildlife, landscape and communities in so-called High Nature Value (HNV) farming areas.

Progress on Natural England's Uplands Delivery Review

Natural England has been undertaking a review of Uplands evidence and have published their findings

This is the first of Natural England’s evidence reviews and it addresses 5 topics which were identified with stakeholder input.  It reflects on areas of advice that are subject to challenge and looks at what could make a difference on the ground.

The publication includes the methodology and the assurance process as well as the five topic reviews.

English sheep farmers SEVERE WEATHER PAYMENTS

Defra has made up to £250,000 available to subsidise the cost of collecting and rendering sheep that died in the severe late March snowfall. This will help farmers who suffered heavier losses than normal due to the exceptional weather, to cover these unexpected costs.

The National Fallen Stock Company (NFSCo) will administer the scheme, but farmers do not need to be members already or have used a member collector in order to apply for the subsidy.

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