The CLA is the latest industry body to back a UK-wide exemption from the three-crop rule for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2018.
Farm Minister George Eustice appealed to the European Commission last week to request a derogation from the EU requirement for farmers with more than 30 hectares to grow at least three different crops every year due to unusually heavy rain and snow at a critical time for planting.
The CLA has joined the call to relax the rules by making a direct approach to the Commission in a letter from CLA President Tim Breitmeyer outlining the risk of soil damage if the rule is enforced.
In the letter to Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, Mr Breitmeyer explains that farmers are concerned about the viability and strength of crops due to high rainfall and waterlogged soil. He says farmers will not be able to meet the three-crop rule, even with the possibility of late sowing, where there is limited crop choice for their land type. Fearing soil damage and erosion, he urges Mr Hogan to grant the UK Government’s derogation application immediately.
He writes: “Enforcing the three-crop rule for this year would compel farmers to take machinery onto wet ground and risk soil damage and erosion simply because they need to sow a crop in order to meet the EU requirements and avoid a reduction in their Direct Payment. This is clearly wrong.”
The CLA will be meeting Mr Hogan this week to stress support for the Government’s request to exempt UK farmers from the three-crop rule.
Click here to read the letter in full.