Farmers and landowners who received funding will have to put up billboards, posters or plaques publicizing the fact, after a new ruling imposed by the European Union.
Included in the new ruling are landowners and farmers receiving in excess of €50,000 (₤38,825, $55,087) and €500,000 (₤388,250, $550,870) respectively.
Landowners may receive European funding to protect the countryside, while farmers may receive subsidies under the Countryside Stewardship scheme for similar purposes, such as creating woodland areas greater in size than seven hectares (17 acres), the restoration of lakes and heathland, and other natural habitats.
The billboards need to be clearly visible to members of the general public.
Those receiving at least €10,000 (₤7,194 ,$11,117) during the lifetime of their deal will have to display an A3 poster (29.7 x 42.0cm, 11.69 x 16.53 inches) stating that they received funding from the EU.
EU propaganda paid for by farmers
In an interview with the Telegraph, UKIP MEP Stuart Agnew said:
“It is outrageous that farmers are obliged to get involved in the EU propaganda machine when this money came from the British taxpayer.”
According to ‘Countryside Stewardship – Terms and Conditions’, issued by Natural England, Forestry Commission, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Rural Payments Agency:
“The Agreement Holder shall comply with all instructions and guidance from the Authority in relation to acknowledgement and publicity of the Grant, including using any materials or templates which are provided to it for this purpose.”
“Such acknowledgement and publicity may include, where appropriate, a statement on any website operated by the Agreement Holder for business purposes, and/or a poster, plaque or billboard displayed on the Agreement Holder’s land or premises. Further details of the publicity requirements applicable to the Scheme are set out in the Countryside Stewardship Manual.”
“In using the Authority’s name and logo, the Agreement Holder shall comply with all reasonable branding guidelines issued by the Authority from time to time. The Agreement Holder agrees to participate in and co-operate with promotional activities relating to the Scheme if required to do so by the Authority. The Authority may acknowledge the Agreement Holder’s involvement in the Scheme as appropriate without prior notice.”
Farmers and landowners are warned that failure to display the billboard, plaque or poster, or to replace damaged or lost ones, is a breach of the agreement and subject to a penalty or recovery of payments.
The landowner or farmer must pay the cost of these advertisements in full.