Understanding your "natural capital"
Coronavirus is understandably dominating Government efforts and so any progress on the Agriculture Bill or the 25-year environment plan is unlikely, at least until the end of this year when the dust has hopefully settled.
However, farmers still need to be mindful of the changes on the horizon.
As you no doubt have heard on numerous occasions, future direct payments are centred on the notion of “public money for public goods.” These public goods include water, air and soil quality, flood alleviation, carbon sequestration and public access.
If public money is going to be linked to public goods, it is vital that farmers and land managers understand the value of their natural assets. In short, the natural capital of the holding needs to be understood.
Natural capital is the capital value of the public goods the farmer can deliver from the holding. While the notion of valuing natural capital is in its infancy, farmers should arm themselves with good advice to enable them to make the most of future schemes and to not undersell themselves.
A full understanding of the value of your natural capital will be crucial in ensuring farmers are adequately paid for the goods they offer, whether from government or private coffers.
Aidan Greenway, Madeleys
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