The United Kingdom was part of the European Union (EU) and its predecessor, the European Communities (EC), for 47 years. It left the EU in January 2020 and has since made its own decisions regarding trade deals, logistics, imports, and exports. Since the EU rules are no longer applicable, the entire structure of the UK agricultural industry has had to change in order to adapt.
Since leaving the EU, the UK has renewed previous trade deals and developed new agreements with various countries, including Japan, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Australia. In addition to this, the government has also implemented new agricultural policies and will continue to do so as it breaks away from EU-based rules. The transition started in 2021 and will continue to evolve.
In this article, we’re going to explore the new rules that the UK has already implemented, ones that it’s currently implementing and what 2022 holds for the UK farming and agriculture as a whole.
Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) Reduction
The Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is the main rural payment for farmers and has been in effect since 2015. It has helped shape the farming industry and assisted farmers with grants and payments, while also helping to conserve the environment.
The UK planned to phase out Direct Payments in England from 2021 to 2027 and started with a reduction of 5% on the first £30,000 in 2021. This increases across payment bands, with a 10% decrease for those paid between £30,000 and £50,000, a 20% decrease for those paid between £50,000 and £150,000, and a 25% decrease for those paid more than £150,000.
This will continue in 2022, with a 20% decrease for payments up to £30,000, a 25% decrease for payments between £30,000 and £50,000, a 35% decrease for payments between £50,000 and £150,000, and a 40% decrease for payments more than £150,000.
Lump Sum Exit Scheme for Farmers
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) is also enacting a Lump Sum Exit Scheme for farmers that is meant to support those who want to leave the industry and help those who want to enter it. According to Defra, the direct payments currently in effect are serving to inflate farm rent prices and are in the way of structural change. This acts as a barrier to new players in the industry.
The Lump Sum Exit Scheme for farmers aims to make it easier and financially feasible for farmers to exit the industry if they want to, allowing those who want to be a part of the industry enter it or let existing farmers expand their activity. Farmers will be offered a lump sum payment in 2022 to replace additional direct payments to make this a reality. According to Defra, the application period for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme is expected to be in the first half of 2022.
Sustainable Farming Incentive
The UK is trying to promote and encourage environmental land management and is putting three schemes in place for doing this. The first of these three schemes is the Sustainable Farming Incentive, which is meant to reward farmers for environmental sustainability. Over 2000 English farmers who get payments under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) will participate in the pilot program, which will roll out in 2022.
Farmers will get paid to take action to reduce flooding, levels of sediment, erosion, run-off, greenhouse gas emissions,and nutrient and chemical pollution in water. They’ll also be paid for actions that improve water storage, carbon storage and biodiversity.
Animal Health and Welfare Pathway
The Animal Health and Welfare Pathway is a program to ensure the health and welfare of farm animals by controlling and eliminating endemic diseases. The program is set to launch in Spring 2022 and will consist of a government-funded health and welfare review and diagnostic testing of farm animals. The government will provide capital grants and financially support vet visits to eliminate an agreed-upon list of diseases.
This is a great program for livestock farmers in the UK since it involves farmers working closely with their own vets, covering the health and welfare needs of the animals and farm. In addition to eliminating diseases and reducing costs borne by livestock farmers because of illnesses, this will also boost export opportunities. This, combined with the lucrative trade deals that the UK has secured with other countries, is a recipe for success.
Livestock Information Programme
The Livestock Information Programme will ensure livestock traceability services for the agricultural industry and replace services that currently trace cattle (BCMS), pigs (eAML2), and deer, goats, and sheep (ARAMS) by December 2022. The data regarding different species will be available in one place for faster and more effective management and disease prevention.
While the Livestock Information Programme covers only England, similar systems are being implemented in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In addition to aiding disease prevention, this innovation will give the UK a competitive trade advantage.
Slurry Investment Scheme
The Slurry Investment Scheme is a grant funding scheme that will launch in 2022 and aims to upgrade slurry storage to reduce pollution from spills and leaks. As a result, it will help cut emissions and prevent slurry spreading. This pollution reduction scheme will help contribute to the UK’s 25 Year Environmental Plan and Net Zero commitments.
Innovation Research & Development Scheme
Also set to launch in 2022, the UK government plans to involve farmers, growers, and foresters in the scheme and support innovative ideas. Currently, a lot of farmer-led R&D is either private or funded by NGOs. This scheme ensures that the UK government plays an active role in innovation and agricultural research funding.
UK Agriculture in 2022
With so many exciting upcoming projects in 2022, there has never been a better time to join the agricultural industry. These pilot programs will create new jobs and better the UK agricultural industry as a whole.
If you want to join in and get ahead in this field, Agricultural Recruitment Specialists can help. Our candidate services can help you find your dream agricultural job, while our client services can help you recruit the best candidate for any vacancy. Contact our recruitment specialists here for more information.