Look to the Hills
by Markus Aranko
Possibilities for the future
With the PDLMI, the actual business of farming would be left almost totally in the hands of the market, a place it hasn't occupied for a long time. While this would improve the perception of agriculture in the public eye, it means a considerable mindshift for people who are used to ‘farming to policy’. Some farmers stand to lose if the existing funding criteria, that their farms are geared towards, are thrown away. That is why the current scheme is a voluntary one, since its only goal is to experiment on an idea to see if it can be done. There are no guarantees.
There is interest in the project all the way from ministerial level, but its truly radical approach means that it is by no means sure that there will be total support. That is why Mr. Parker makes it clear that this is a pilot scheme, to allow future development to be better informed of options, and allow the farmers themselves to shape what they want their lives, and the lives of their descendants, to be.