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Question of the week for February 23, 2013

Do you support moving direct payments into the rural development fund?

IT’S only now that the detail of the CAP budget agreement is becoming apparent – and farmers will be disappointed, but not surprised, that the deal is not nearly as attractive as first portrayed.
Pressure on Single Farm Payments and rural development funds in particular are the big bugbears that UK farmers will have to thole, mainly due to an appalling reluctance by the UK government to horse trade (pardon the obvious pun) on the terms of the agreement. And there was real money here up for grabs – France got €1bn extra for rural development and Ireland €100,000 – just for asking.
And the UK got nothing, other than the ability to move direct payments into the rural development pot, something that they will likely implement with gusto. So much for supporting farming, as ministers have been claiming over these past couple of weeks.

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