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Jeremy's Blog 11th December 2020: The Role of the Trusted Advisor

This article by Jeremy Moody first appeared in the CAAV e-Briefing of 10th December 2020.

As the CAP becomes part of the UK’s past, whatever the outcome of the current impasse with EU, so we have to look at the work to come.

In England, the Transition Plan sets the direction but there is much work in its implementation with new tenancy regulations, consultations on the lump sum payment option for 2022 and then de-linking in 2024, the ELM Pilots starting in 2021, the development of the Sustainable Farming Incentive for 2022, and much more. Wales is shortly to publish its White Paper explaining how BPS is to be replaced by the Sustainable Farming Scheme.

May 15th has been a key professional date for many since 1993, when enormous work was required to make the first “IACS” applications. That date has then been a constant through the following years into the Single Payment Scheme and now the Basic Payment Scheme, each with its dramas. However, with de-linking it may revert to being just another date in the calendar.

Yet the role of the trusted adviser, familiar with the farm and family, will be particularly critical with the scale of change that farmers will be facing as Basic Payment is eroded.

How will members replace that annual contact, update and refreshing of relationships that they have had with clients? The annual assessment of ELM contracts may be one opportunity where farmers sense that money is at risk if this is not done properly. They may anyway need good advice about how to manage, develop or change what they are doing as well as on handling issues of compliance. Something of that might be developed now by reviewing current environmental agreements and the opportunities unfolding as the new environmental and productivity schemes become available.

As one first step to this, the CAAV will be hosting an event with DEFRA in the Spring Briefings to introduce members to what will be needed for good applications for the first Pilots for ELM when a thousand farmers are wanted, across a variety of farm types and situations.

The growing programme of infrastructure work will bring new and perhaps more regular interactions and reasons to be in touch with affected clients. Regular briefings, discussion circles and, of course, the post-Covid revival of markets as opportunities for conversation can all be part of this. Each practice and professional will find their own answer with the client base and kind of work they do.

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