REACTION to the Government's reforms of farm support have been coming in thick and fast after George Eustice's round of breakfast interviews, and his speech to the virtual Oxford Farming Conference. Here are some of the comments, both inside, and outside Parliament:

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale) warned the reforms will lead to “hundreds upon hundreds of those family farms going out of business and therefore not being in a place to deliver those environmental goods by 2028”.

He said: “The landscape of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales is shaped by centuries of family farming.

“By accident, the Government could undo all of that in a few short years, even months, so will he think again and not penny pinch, and make sure that basic payment is rolled over in full until the point that the environmental land management scheme is available for everyone?”

Labour’s Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) said: “Given this new policy will see income for some farms fall by 50 per cent in the next three years, what assessments has he made of the numbers that will the impacted by these changes?”

Conservative former minister Philip Dunne, also a farmer, said he “broadly” welcomed the Government’s transition plan to improve the environment but voiced concerns over “farming viability” given a phased 50 per cent cut in support for some over the next three to four years.

He told the Commons: “The Secretary of State is offering a lump sum exit scheme to encourage farmers to retire and a new scheme for new entrants from 2022.

“But in view of the high costs of mechanisation and the time to achieve viability of a new enterprise, does this not risk continuing the process of consolidation of farming businesses into larger holdings – in particular in disadvantaged areas?”

Mr Eustice, in his reply, noted: “We’re considering this in the design of our schemes.”

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard: “Labour supports public money for public good, of course we do, but that’s not what this is about.

“Strip away the green coating and these proposals are a full throttle attack on English family farms – English because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland farmers are going in a different direction by maintaining support for small farms for longer.

“Under these proposals, many small farms will lose up to half their current support payments within just three years, leaving many financially unviable.”

SNP chief whip Patrick Grady asked for reassurances that the Scottish Government will be able to pursue its own agenda on setting standards.

He said: “I’m not sure (Mr Eustice’s) answer so far on the Internal Market Bill are going to provide much reassurance to the agricultural sector, or indeed anyone in Scotland that values the devolution settlement.

“Can he guarantee the Government is not going to use powers in that Bill to prevent the Scottish Government from pursuing its own agenda on issues related to standards or state aid?”

Mr Eustice responded: “When it comes to standards in trade agreements, which is one of the issues that was debated, that of course is a reserved matter since it is a matter for those international negotiations. But, of course, when it comes to setting standards around animal welfare, those matters are devolved now and will remain devolved.”

Mark Bridgeman, president of the Country Land and Business Association, said: “From January, we will embark upon the biggest shift in agricultural policy in 70 years. The new Environmental Land Management scheme has the potential to be a genuinely world-leading policy that will allow land managers and government to work together to reverse biodiversity decline and mitigate climate change, as well as deliver quality food, grown and reared to the highest standards. But the transition from the old system to the new is fraught with risk. Many farmers will find it hard to see past the drastic cuts to the Basic Payment Scheme, that begin next year. The average family farm will see cuts of over 50 per cent before the new schemes are fully available in 2024. The Government has announced the Sustainable Farming Incentive to help bridge the gap, but with only a month to go before the transition phase begins we have no details whatsoever about how this will work on the ground and the level of investment it will provide. This lack of detail risks casting a shadow over Government’s laudable aims.”

NFU president Minette Batters said: “Defra has embraced many of the industry’s ideas for sustainable farming and food production in designing this new agricultural policy for England. Farming is changing and we look forward to working with ministers and officials to co-create the schemes that will help farmers to improve productivity and animal welfare, encourage innovation and realise our ambition to produce increasingly climate-friendly food. However, the rate at which direct support reductions will take place, which we understand will not be applied in other parts of the UK, leaves English farmers with significant questions. These payments have been a lifeline for many farmers especially when prices or growing conditions have been volatile and will be very difficult to replace in the first four years of this transition. Can ministers be sure that new schemes will be available at scale to deliver redirected BPS payments? Take livestock farmers for example, who we project will have lost between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of their income by 2024 as a result of these reductions. What changes will Defra make to ensure that the new Environmental Land Management schemes offer rewards that provide a genuine income for their businesses while maintaining food production? These are the questions Defra needs to answer urgently, for every farming sector and every part of the country."

GSC Grays director and head of farm business consultancy, Robert Sullivan said: “The government’s vision is to achieve a sustainable and profitable farming sector, along with environmental recovery, which I’m sure most farmers will accept as being a laudable aim. The frustration in what has been announced today is the lack of detail in relation to the new schemes – we are not really any further forward about how these will enable farm businesses to overcome the significant reductions in BPS income. Most farmers will be initially concerned with how fast the Basic Payment Scheme will be cut. For a 500 acre lowland farm it is estimated that the BPS income will fall from around £47,200 in 2020 to £22,800 in 2024 – a reduction of 52 per cent, whilst for a 1,500 acre business the fall will be approximately £141,700 to £56,100m equating to a 60 per cent reduction. The new funding streams announced today are welcome, but the benefit from the majority of these schemes will not be seen until after the start of the significant reduction in the BPS payments.”