With the delivery of more than £3bn worth of funding to UK farmers currently arranged through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy due to be replaced by a new national system as part of Brexit, concerns about the current trials of the replacement scheme must be treated with great seriousness given Britain’s departure from the European Union - potentially on no-deal terms - is less than three months away.
There is considerable unease in Yorkshire among some who work in agriculture that just two of 46 trial proposals by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of new payments to reward the delivery of “public goods” are to be led by farmers; as well as worries about the absence of long-term guarantees about the future of the new system and a lack of firm definitions about precisely what work will be eligible for funding.
Read more: How no-deal Brexit would devastate farming
Of course, the purpose of such trials is to identify difficulties and firm up policies, while the final scheme is proposed to be phased in over seven years until widespread adoption in 2028.
But given the extent of concerns about the potential impact of a badly-handled Brexit among the farming community - with officials in Wales warning this week that there could be ‘civil unrest’ in rural communities should a no-deal exit decimate their livelihoods by affecting their ability to sell produce to Europe - any worries about the trials system should be addressed as a priority.
A central tenet of the Leave campaign in 2016 - led by the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson - was the promise that departing the EU offered an opportunity for people to take back control.
That is exactly what should happen in this case where farmers currently feel they have a lack of involvement in a process with massive ramifications for their work in years to come.