Nature Recovery Network
Secretary of State George Eustice has announced that he will submit an amendment to the Environment Bill to set a legally binding target to halt the decline in wildlife populations by 2030. Part of that would be to set up a Nature Recovery Network, a task force to advise on specific measures to help species most at risk including curlew, dormice, pine marten, short-haired bumblebee and large blue butterfly. It will also advise on the further reintroduction of species such as golden eagles and wildcats to join beavers and white-tailed eagles already reintroduced. It must be hoped that before the reintroduction or extra help given to predators that an exit strategy is considered. For example, the capercaillie in Scotland, protected, is almost extinct due in part to predation by pine martens, also protected.
Australia Trade Deal
It is rumoured that there is a major split in the Cabinet over a proposed trade deal with Australia that is in the final stages of negotiation. The Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, backed by the Prime Minister, is adamant that there should be tariff and quota free access to our markets for Australian farm products but George Eustice, backed by Michael Gove, insist that British farmers should be protected from unfair competition, especially as any deal will be used as a blueprint for other countries, notably the USA. They argue that our environmental and animal welfare standards must apply to imports and that there should be a quota to prevent imports from flooding our markets, especially beef and lamb.
John Edgar Memorial Trust
The John Edgar Memorial Trust will be running another management development scheme this coming winter. There will be three weeklong courses held at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, in December, January and February, to further develop the management skills of young people involved in farming and rural enterprise. Applications are invited by 7th June. For further details, go to http://johnedgartrust.org.uk.
The Government has announced a consultation on the incentive to be offered to older farmers in England to retire to make way for new entrants. The grant will be based on the Single Payment that the farmers are entitled to between the start of the scheme and the final phase out in 2027, effectively a lump sum payment in advance. There will be an upper limit of £100,000 but there are few further details, particularly how the payment will be treated for tax.