U.K. Says Farm Regulations Will Lower Food Supply

British farmers are continuing their objections to proposed European Union agricultural policies tying direct payment farm subsidies to compliance with strengthened environmental regulations. These polices, farmers say, will hurt the environment and lower food supplies.

The proposed changes to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy would link farm subsidies to compliance with new environmental regulations. These tough new guidelines would require farmers to meet new standards for biodiversity, would require farmers to maintain permanent pastureland, and would mandate that farmers set aside 7 percent of their land as uncultivated ecological space.

Compliance with these policies, British farmers and politicians claim, would hurt the environment more than it would help, particularly because it would give farmers an incentive to plow up pastoral land and preserved ecological space before a government mandated 2014 deadline.

In addition, these new regulations could lower the overall food supply, raising prices and contributing to hunger in Europe and abroad. Taking land out of food production, some politicians claim, will only serve to limit overall production, a move that could hurt many European families already struggling to make ends meet.

EU agricultural commissioners, however, have dismissed these claims. The 7 percent of land required to be set aside, they argue, can include hedges, ditches, and field margins currently in existence, limiting the overall impact on production.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer