FARMERS could risk of going out of business under a 'haphazard' Government-managed transition from the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the flagship new Environment Land Management (ELM) scheme, according to Cumbrian MP.

In its new report, Environmental Land Management and the Agricultural Transition, published recently, the House of Commons EFRA Committee calls on the Government to fully assess the impact that the biggest change to agricultural policy in 70 years will have on farm businesses, and to properly support the sector as it navigates the transition.

The new scheme, which phases out the old system of direct payments to farmers in favour of 'public money for public goods'- such as improving biodiversity and water quality- is already being partially piloted, and is due to be fully operational by 2027. Despite this, the report finds 'considerable uncertainty' and 'failure of communication' overshadow the most significant shake up to agricultural support that English farmers and producers will have experienced throughout their careers.

Given the global challenges which face English farming - including climate change and new trading conditions- the Report argues that the new scheme must work for farmers.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border and Member of the EFRA Select Committee said: “We are urging Government to work with rural stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition in payments and that there are no ‘cliff edges’ that would compromise the viability of farm businesses. We also press the message home loud and clear in our report that upland farms, tenant farms and common land need to be looked out for in this process, and this is something hugely relevant for us here in Cumbria.”