NI farmers should hang on to every piece of carbon they have rather than get involved in agreements that mean they give it away cheaply to a large corporate company, Jeremy Moody from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) has said.

Speaking at spring briefing in Cookstown last Friday, Moody said the potential “riches” of selling now are trivial when compared to the burden that meeting future climate change targets might put on farmers. “If you sell away the easy bits, meeting future demands of processors and retailers will leave you working much harder. The changes ahead are massive. Farmers will need every tool in the box,” said Moody.

He maintained that just before the pre-election period, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots “had cleared the decks”, announcing various policies and strategies, but just what will be expected of farmers remains unclear, and much will depend on future action plans.

However, he believes the proposed soil nutrient health scheme in NI could underpin future development.

“The soil scheme is a very positive offer for farmers – it is seen by the rest of the UK as very much leading where other people would like to go,” said Moody.

He is also optimistic that agricultural funding is secure for the medium term, although it will be eroded by inflation, and his organisation continues to press the UK government for tax reform in NI to encourage longer term leasing of land.

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