THE future of farming and food production will be based on discussions around the kitchen table according to Environment Minister George Eustice, who backed the Government’s plans for agriculture during a visit to the Great Yorkshire Show.

Huge changes in the way government supports farming are on the cards following Brexit and the abandonment of traditional farm subsidies over the next year.

Government plans are due to be revealed in the autumn through the Sustainable Farming Incentive. While visiting the Yorkshire showground, Mr Eustice said it was a real opportunity to change the way farmers work with the environment.

Instead of paying farmers based on the amount of land they have, the government says the incentive scheme alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes, will pay for sustainable farming practices, improve animal health and welfare, improve environmental outcomes, and reducing carbon emissions.

Mr Eustice said: “This is a real opportunity to change and to work with the environment. With the former Common Agricultural Policy there was a never ending changing of the system, each one becoming more and more bureaucratic with more paperwork.

“We want to get back to a trusted advisor who sits around the kitchen table and puts together a plan that is right for that farm and farmer. In the past many farm subsidies were based on the land area and the landowners benefitted.

“We are in favour of a trusted land agent or appropriate body such as the RSPB or wildlife trust who can help the farmer put together a plan for their farm.

“We want our new schemes to help farmers access the money and the advice they need to be effective and ambitious – to encourage environmental land management.”

Mr Eustice said it was many of the family farms and small business that are going to be a crucial part of the farming industry – but the government also wants to encourage new entries into the industry.

“We are doing additional work with farmers to entice new entries on to the land,” he said.

“The new investment fund will support such things as small scale farm equipment and technology with large scale investments such as reservoirs water and improving farm productivity.

“We want to come together to tackle the challenges. In the past they have not been the only or main beneficiaries.

“While farmers have always been the recipients of subsidies, around half has been tied up with such things as inflated rents and not to farmers.”

When asked whether the new approach to more sustainable farming could sway farmers from producing food, he said: “It is not an alternative to food production but a more sustainable way of food production and the ultimate sustainability of the farm business.”