Daily Management Review

UK government to pay elderly farmers up to $140,000 for retirement


The UK government will pay up to $140,000 to farmers in England for agreeing to retire. London sees some elderly farmers as opponents of organic farming methods and is trying to encourage them to make way for young people.

Pauline Eccles
Pauline Eccles
The UK government plans to pay elderly farmers in England who agree to retire, perceiving some of them as opponents of organic farming methods, the BBC has reported. As a result, such farmers will receive an average lump sum of $70,000 (£50,000). Those who own large holdings can expect to receive payments of up to $140,000 (£100,000). There are plans to extend the scheme to farmers in Wales in the future.

Such payments are part of a major overhaul of farm subsidies designed to encourage farmers to protect the environment. And some elderly farmers, according to UK Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister George Eustice, are resistant to new, green production methods and should be encouraged to leave. 

Nowadays, under the old EU scheme, which is still in place in the UK, farmers receive a subsidy based on the area of land they farm. Its average is $29,700 (£21,000). But large holders of farmland receive much more: the Queen of England, for example, receives more than $700,000 (£500,000) a year, the BBC notes.

Such a system, Minister Eustice is convinced, encourages some farmers to "stay on shore, not take risks" and rely on their land for subsidies. At a conference on farming in Oxford earlier this year, he said the desire of some veteran farmers to faithfully carry on the family tradition of farming "sometimes gets in the way of change". "A fresh perspective can make a world of difference. New entrants are the lifeblood of any dynamic industry, and agriculture is no exception," he stressed.

source: bbc.com