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    UK at risk of domestic beef, lamb shortage

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    UK is at risk of domestic beef and lamb shortages as amid a drop-off in subsidy payments in favour of green schemes.

    Upland farm businesses will lose an average of 37 per cent of support payments as basic subsidies are phased out in favour of green schemes, The Telegraph reported citing new findings from the National Farmers Union (NFU).

    A fall in subsidies post-Brexit combined with increasing cost pressures has led to some farmers reducing the numbers of cattle they own, which they say could fuel a shortfall in high-quality homegrown meat, The Telegraph reported.

    The UK has been rolling out its own green farming schemes to replace the European Union’s £2.4 billion subsidy regime post Brexit, promising farmers would receive cash in return for actions that provide public benefit to the environment.

    However, industry chiefs have warned that sustainable-linked subsidies are not tailored to suit hill farmers, meaning many will lose out on payments that help keep them afloat.

    The Government has said previously it will unveil a new package of funding measures this year, although timelines have since been pushed back. As a result, many farmers are forced to scale back their operations, raising the prospect of possible British beef and lamb shortages. 

    Hill farmers state that the UK schemes currently fail to recognise the work they do to maintain the countryside in upland areas, some of which are located in the UK’s best-known National Parks, such as the Peak District and Exmoor, stated the report, adding that they are involved in maintaining local footpaths and boosting biodiversity in areas where they operate.

    NFU vice president David Exwood said the anticipated fall in government subsidies is “not a surprise to the farmers working in our hills”. 

    He said the NFU has been urging ministers to accelerate proposals that “deliver meaningful income in return for the vital management hill farms deliver and the environmental goods they supply.”

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