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Final Briefings on New Countryside Care Scheme for Farmers 12 December 2008

Briefings for farmers and Members of Tynwald have been completed, in advance of the December sitting of Tynwald which will consider the Countryside Care Scheme.

The briefings were designed to explain the changes made to the Scheme following consultation and to provide opportunities for questions. The Scheme will change the basis for making payments to farmers, enabling them to better respond to consumer demands for food and to explore ways of becoming more profitable. At the same time, the Scheme is not a soft option and farmers know that they will have to meet a comprehensive range of standards in order to receive a payment from the Scheme. The standards cover a variety of agricultural practices but, as importantly, they include measures to protect the Manx countryside.

The sessions have been well attended, giving rise to a variety of questions and leaving no doubt that change is needed if Manx agriculture is to prosper.

The Minister for Agriculture, Phil Gawne also made it clear that the Countryside Care Scheme is one of seven steps which DAFF is pursuing in support of Manx farmers, Isle of Man Meats, Isle of Man Creamery and Laxey Glen Mill. All seven steps are required to deliver DAFF’s strategy for agriculture which includes: meeting the needs of the Manx people for a reliable and diverse range of food; helping farmers to be more profitable and customer-focussed; and enhancing the protection of the Manx countryside.

Mr Gawne said: “These proposed measures are the most far reaching changes to be faced by Manx agriculture in 50 years. They are the result of three years of hard work and extensive consultation throughout the industry and I thank everyone for their input. If agreed by Tynwald, they will bring many benefits to customers, farmers and the countryside”.

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