FARMERS have been urged to have their say on the Government’s plans to move towards a ‘public money for public goods’ system of farming as the end date of a public consultation draws near.

The Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, due to be rolled out in full by the end of 2024, will see farmers rewarded for adopting sustainable practices and for delivering ‘public goods’ - such as improved biodiversity and clean water - which benefit the environment.

A consultation on ELM, launched by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and closing on July 31, is giving farmers and land managers the opportunity to have their say.

Nick Mullins, rural surveyor at H&H Land & Estates, which has offices in Grange and Kendal, warned the ELM scheme would ‘likely’ not provide ‘the same level of support’ as the EU-funded Basic Payment Scheme, which is to be phased out over a number of years.

“Therefore, it is sensible for farmers to prepare their businesses now for the changes that we will see over the next few years in terms of available support schemes,” he said.

“Going forward, the sector as a whole is increasingly understanding nature’s role as foundational to our economy and our health and wellbeing.”

Mr Mullins said it was ‘vital’ farmers took the opportunity ‘to be empowered’ that the consultation presented to them.

A series of free online seminars which is running throughout July for farmers, foresters and land managers in England will provide an ‘overview’ of plans for the ELM scheme and give people the chance to discuss them with Defra.

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