CAP reform penalties are stiffer than expected.

Johann Tasker writes in the Farmers Weekly that farmers who refuse to adopt 'green' measures planned by Brussels will lose far more than the expected 30% of their annual subsidy cheque.

Apparently proposals unveiled this week suggested 30% of direct payments would depend on farmers respecting certain agricultural practices including maintaining permanent pasture and cultivating at least three different crops on arable land.

To receive 100% of their direct payment, farmers would also have to maintain an "ecological focus area" covering at least 7% of their land.

Eligible areas contributing to this 7% include field margins, buffer strips, hedges, trees, fallow land, approved landscapes and beneficial water features.

Farmers who repeatedly refuse to implement these environmental measures would lose much more than 30% of their direct payment.

A commission spokesman told Farmers Weekly the intention was that all farmers should participate in the greening scheme.

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