Policy changes, future support for farmers and better communication between government departments and the farming community were all topics up for discussion during a Q&A with Defra’s Janet Hughes at the 2022 Great Yorkshire Show.
A public Q&A session with Janet, who is Director of the Future Farming and Countryside Programme at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, was held at the new GYS Stage on day three of the Show, with an open invitation to farmers to come along and ask questions.
The opportunity was organised by the Yorkshire Food Farming and Rural Network, a group hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society whose ultimate goal is to help enable farming, rural businesses and rural communities to become more sustainable; economically, environmentally and socially.
Here, we bring you three short clips from the Q&A with Janet to share her insights about the direction of agricultural policies that are already beginning to impact upon farming businesses in the early stages of the Agricultural Transition Period.
Richard Morley, a Yorkshire farmer and member of the YFFRN, chaired the session.
Here, Janet explains how Defra are trying to “completely transform” the way it works with farmers.
“We want you to see us as people who understand what we are trying to do. We want you to be successful… we are trying to help,” Janet said.
In this clip, Janet talks about a new pragmatic approach to farm visits from government officials, cutting back on daunting paperwork and how she understands that farmers are wary about a new policy regime.
In this final clip, Janet explains that Defra and the Rural Payments Agency will be working together in closer partnership than before.
Janet also addresses concerns for how hill farmers will fare through the changing policy landscape, and she talks about the next round of free business planning advice that will be available to farming businesses from autumn 2022.