Regarding possible current uptake this year, I have always been positive, and I have been proved wrong, year on year, as I am often told by DEFRA’s agri-environment group. This year, in particular, people have heard for a long time that BPS will start going down. They have seen their neighbours’ farms going into the simplified scheme, although not in huge numbers. I work with a company that provides agronomy advice, and the agronomists are starting to understand it.
The weather this year in the east midlands, my patch of the country, has meant that there are farms with no combinable crops in the ground at all—not 5% or 10%, but none. That has made people think. It has made people think about sustainable income streams, support, unproductive areas and what they could do differently. There is a whole raft of different things. There is also a question of who sells it. If you sell it directly and positively, people will do it. If you are negative and you harp on about late payments and so on, the meeting will leave you. I tend to be positive about it. Perhaps that is why I have a long list of people wanting to work with it.