Greens believe that farmers play a special role in our society as the guardians of natural environments. We believe that agriculture and the management of the countryside have a special place in national life and should not be exposed to market forces.

We accept and support the use of EU subsidies but these must be allocated more equitably and far more transparently so they can be used to support cooperation between small farmers, help community farming and provide better access to land and training in sustainable practices. Fundamentally, we need to place a duty on farmers to use the land for the common good.

South West Greens reject the competitive market logic that is currently praised by Defra as the objective of agricultural subsidy reform. We also reject the productivist logic that has driven farming for the past 70 years. While this has achieved massive increases in yields, it has not protected the family farms that provide the backbone for rural life and has come at a great cost to the natural environment

In terms of practical proposals to reform the CAP system we would argue for

  1. Accepting the maximum limit on individual and corporate CAP payments of€300,000, as proposed by the Commission
  2. Requiring all payments to be based on the achievement of environmental benefits.

Capping the CAP: Using EU Farm Subsidies to Protect the Environment and Support Small Family Farms in the South West'

Professor Molly Scott Cato, Finance Speaker for the Green Party and Henry Gent, Devon-based dairy farmer and South West Green Party policy co-ordinator

December 2013