On 30 June, Environment Secretary George Eustice announced an update on the government’s post-Brexit Agricultural Transition Plan.
The plan comprises three schemes:
- Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), aimed at farmers only and designed to be accessible for most farms, with some small-scale tree and woodland actions.
- Local Nature Recovery (LNR), geared towards larger scale actions such as habitat restoration.
- Landscape Recovery (LR), for landscape and ecosystem recovery including large scale woodland creation and management.
Most of the update relates to the Sustainable Farming Initiative, and a key announcement for our sector relates to annual health visits to eligible farms through the Annual Health and Welfare review. Livestock farmers with commercial cattle, sheep and pigs who are eligible to claim BPS will be eligible for a Defra funded vet-led annual health and welfare review. During the visit, the vet and farmer will be able to decide on priority actions specifically to improve that farms health, welfare and productivity, alongside medicine reviews, key data collection and testing for certain endemic diseases including a priority for BVD monitoring.
The Sustainable Farming Incentive will be the first of three environmental land management schemes to be rolled out. The aim is to accelerate the widespread adoption of more sustainable approaches on all types of farms, including maintaining and enhancing the natural environment, reducing carbon emissions, and improving the welfare of livestock.
Nikki Hopkins, BCVA’s President said, “We have been working with colleagues to contribute to and establish the details of the animal health pathway and animal health review for some time. Although the exact practical details are still in development, any process that enhances the benefits of Veterinary input and advice on farms, and further develops relationships between farmers and their vet to improve health and welfare on farm has to be encouraged.
The full policy paper is available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/agricultural-transition-plan-june-2021-progress-update