Trusting Defra

Do you think the adoption of my 3 proposals is;

  • Essential

    Votes: 18 78.3%
  • An improvement

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • Unnecessary

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • a bad idea

    Votes: 1 4.3%

  • Total voters
    23

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
It is clear from the many discussions on TFF, that there is concern that the one-sided relationship we have with our ruling department means we our powerless and open to abuse.
Payments under CAP were made unless we failed to meet basic legal requirements whereas there is a subtle but significant change to be paid for specific actions in future schemes. This means making capital investments/ spending upfront and incurring loss of productivity before payment. This means we have to trust we will be correctly rewarded.

I have 3 proposals that I think will cement that trust.

1) All agreements should clearly state one of the 3 options;

i. This agreement will not hold the landowner to any requirements beyond the stated period of the agreement.
ii. This agreement may hold the landowner to some requirements beyond the stated period of the agreement.
or iii. This agreement will commit the landowner to some requirements beyond the stated period of the agreement.

2) I understand why it may be necessary to be able to change the T & C's at anytime, so if that situation remains, they should add;

If any changes are made to this agreement at any time that decrease or delay payment, or give added or extra requirements, the agreement holder has the right to cancel the agreement without penalty and be paid pro-rata, up until the date of cancellation.

3) There must be a means of independent arbitration in the case of any major dispute and the results available to the public.

This would make it clear if the main issue were farmers chancing their luck, failures at the department or systematic errors with the schemes. It would then be possible to have a clear and open discussion about addressing any significant problems.

I would appreciate any thoughts on my musings.
 
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Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
2 and 3, Yes.

1 needs full clarification in the Agreement on exactly what the requirements beyond the stated period of the agreement would be.

That would be ideal but I thought a traffic light system of yes, no or maybe would be a good starting point and easy to achieve.
When Janet Hughes was asked the question in the first 'question time', she just indicated that in most circumstances there shouldn't be any consequences beyond the 'end date'.
You would hope in that case, that most agreements should have statement (i) on it.
 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
2 and 3 are needed for sure. 1 is pointless because its not the agreement with Defra that binds a landowner once the agreement ends, its other statutory legislation. For example if you agree to plant trees and maintain them for 15 years, once the 15 year woodland creation agreement is up the separate legislation that controls forestry will have become relevant to your woodland and you can't rip all the trees out and revert to farmland. So if you sign an ELMS agreement and you create a wonderful wildlife habitat during its (say) 10 year period all the other legislation that controls wildlife habitats start to control your land, and will continue to do so once the agreement ends.

Its not about putting wording in the ELMS agreement, its about making sure you never do something with your land that means it falls foul of other statutory environmental legislation, either by your actions, or many years of inaction.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
2 and 3 are needed for sure. 1 is pointless because its not the agreement with Defra that binds a landowner once the agreement ends, its other statutory legislation. For example if you agree to plant trees and maintain them for 15 years, once the 15 year woodland creation agreement is up the separate legislation that controls forestry will have become relevant to your woodland and you can't rip all the trees out and revert to farmland. So if you sign an ELMS agreement and you create a wonderful wildlife habitat during its (say) 10 year period all the other legislation that controls wildlife habitats start to control your land, and will continue to do so once the agreement ends.

Its not about putting wording in the ELMS agreement, its about making sure you never do something with your land that means it falls foul of other statutory environmental legislation, either by your actions, or many years of inaction.

I don't think 1 is pointless if it makes clear the implications of signing the agreement.

I would hope that it could be made clear that, for example, " whilst this agreement ends on 30/5/29, any trees planted will be subject will still be subject to x, y and z.

It's about manifesting trust. There are many measures that you could take under ELMS which could become protected retrospectively without some commitment by Defra to protect agreement holders.
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cheshire
Good ideas, but Defra would NEVER agree too them. It holds them too tightly too their word and doesn’t offer a nice grey area for them too slip out of things through.
If the payment levels I read about in the FG are correct then it will mean my subsidy payment will be £2800. If that is correct they will be getting a nice letter telling them too shove it where the sun shines not and I won’t be holding too such things as cross compliance. I’ll do the necessary paperwork of course but inspectors will be told too leave. What can they do if I’m not claiming money from them?? Personally I won’t be investing money into something that lowers production on the basis that the RPA will pay me for my “improvements” at a later date. I’ve seen them crap on friends of mine through the stewardship schemes over the years. So you end up with no product too sell and a promissory note from a government body who change their minds and the goalposts on an alarmingly regular basis.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Good ideas, but Defra would NEVER agree too them. It holds them too tightly too their word and doesn’t offer a nice grey area for them too slip out of things through.
If the payment levels I read about in the FG are correct then it will mean my subsidy payment will be £2800. If that is correct they will be getting a nice letter telling them too shove it where the sun shines not and I won’t be holding too such things as cross compliance. I’ll do the necessary paperwork of course but inspectors will be told too leave. What can they do if I’m not claiming money from them?? Personally I won’t be investing money into something that lowers production on the basis that the RPA will pay me for my “improvements” at a later date. I’ve seen them crap on friends of mine through the stewardship schemes over the years. So you end up with no product too sell and a promissory note from a government body who change their minds and the goalposts on an alarmingly regular basis.

I deliberately left my proposals as 'loose' as possible with minimal protection for agreement holders such that I can't believe there are any really valid reasons why Defra should object.
Any objection would tell its own story and fully justify a loss of trust.
 
2 and 3 are needed for sure. 1 is pointless because its not the agreement with Defra that binds a landowner once the agreement ends, its other statutory legislation. For example if you agree to plant trees and maintain them for 15 years, once the 15 year woodland creation agreement is up the separate legislation that controls forestry will have become relevant to your woodland and you can't rip all the trees out and revert to farmland. So if you sign an ELMS agreement and you create a wonderful wildlife habitat during its (say) 10 year period all the other legislation that controls wildlife habitats start to control your land, and will continue to do so once the agreement ends.

Its not about putting wording in the ELMS agreement, its about making sure you never do something with your land that means it falls foul of other statutory environmental legislation, either by your actions, or many years of inaction.
Makes it sound like a trap, just like the free cheese on the mouse trap
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
One of the problems we’ve had in the past is that there is no independent ombudsman with any clout who you can appeal to. You can only appeal to the RPA which is somewhat pointless when they are the party you have gripe with. It’s the same with RT as well. You can’t even ask your union for help because they run the damn scheme. You are down to your MP, the vicar or the Samaritans, which I why my advice to myself now with any such avoidable scheme is AVOID.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
1 is pointless because its not the agreement with Defra that binds a landowner once the agreement ends, its other statutory legislation.
Tony Blair (apparently) managed to grant the IRA full indemnity against future implementation of the law against them in remain to serious criminal activity so it should be possible to issue a suitably worded one that prevents all such actions succeeding.
 

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