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"Set-aside" farm subsidy to go

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"Set-aside" farm subsidy to go

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A climate-led slump in cereal production and soaring grain prices are forcing the European Union to remove a corner stone of its agricultural policy. The “set aside” scheme, under which farmers are paid to maintain their land for environmental or other purposes rather than food production is to be suspended.

Michael Mann, European Commission spokesperson: “Since 1992, it has been compulsory to basically leave 10% of your land unplanted. It was originally introduced as a measure to control overproduction, obviously we have not overproduction anymore, we actually have a shortage of grain on the market.”

If the EU’s agricultural ministers agree, the subsidy will be set at zero, effective for this years autumn and next years spring sowings. But environmental groups say the move may could devastate bird and insect populations with the disappearance of breeding sites.