Owen Paterson answers your questions on CAP reform

WHERE exactly is the UK going on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform?

Event now LIVE, please joins us on the FarmersGuardian.com homepage

Join us Wednesday (January 23) for a live web chat with Defra Secretary Owen Paterson who will be answering questions on his approach to the reform process.

The negotiations on a new CAP regime for 2014-2020 are set to reach their conclusion - if all goes according to plan - over the next six months, under the Irish presidency of the EU.

Mr Paterson has adopted a typically uncompromising approach to the subject since he took on the lead UK role in negotiating the new policy in September.

While accepting that such far-reaching reform is unachievable this time round, Mr Paterson has repeatedly spoken of his desire to see direct payments abolished as soon as is feasibly possible. He wants all CAP funding to be focussed on environmental measures and is keen to see a new ‘credit’ system developed to measure the environmental benefits of farming to enable this to happen.

But while Mr Paterson is driving forward the long held philosophy on CAP reform of the UK Government - and he insists he is trying to build consensus on his approach - his views are proving increasingly controversial.

UK farming unions, Ministers from the devolved nations, MEPs and even Sir Jim Paice, the former Farming Minister who played big part in the negotiations until he was sacked in September, have, to varying degrees, questioned Mr Paterson’s stance.

The web chat will be hosted live on this website on Wednesday, January 23, at 10.30am.

You will have the chance to question Mr Paterson on his views on direct payments and other elements of the reform process, including the controversial greening proposal, the debate over capping payments, the move to an area-based system that will affect farmers in Scotland and Wales and the future of the sugar regime to name just a few.   

There are also important questions around how the new CAP, likely to come into place in 2015, will be implemented in the UK regions. Mr Paterson, who has spoken of his desire to make agri-environments to only way to access the greening payment in England, is already facing claims Defra could disadvantage domestic farmers in how it implements the reforms.

In order to ask Mr Paterson a question you can either:

  • Email it direct to Alistair.driver@farmersguardian.com ahead of the event, with the subject heading ‘CAP reform debate’, or
  • Simply post it live on Wednesday January 23 by following the simple on-screen instructions.


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