Funding is the key to programme's success

ADEQUATE FUNDING will be key to the England rural development programme, the National Farmers Union claimed last week.

In its response to the government's consultation on rural development, the NFU argued that this can only be provided if the government is prepared to match whatever funding may be raised from farmers with an equivalent contribution from HM Treasury.

Carmen Suarez, NFU chief economist said: "Farmers own and manage the majority of land in rural areas and are critically important in the maintenance and enhancement of the environ-ment and countryside. Our response to the consultation is dominated by the uncertainty surrounding the funding of rural development programmes in England."

The NFU recommends full implementation of the Entry Level Stewardship scheme and continued support for hill farmers.