Under the Common Agricultural Policy UK farmers receive £3.2billion each year and the government has promised to keep overall payments the same until 2022. But what will financial support look like after this? Will farmers have to “earn their subsidy” with good environmental practice, in Michael Gove’s vision for a ‘green Brexit’? Or should support be reduced, or even eliminated, in a similar way to New Zealand?

These are the questions being debated at the Three Counties Farming Conference in association with Bruton Knowles, which takes place on November 16 in Malvern, Worcestershire.

The evening event, chaired by farmer and BBC Countryfile presenter, Adam Henson, has four high-profile speakers presenting their cases to a 400-strong audience followed by a question and answer session from the delegates.

Speakers have offered a glimpse into their stance ahead of the debate.

New Zealand special agricultural trade envoy, Mike Peterson, said: “The most important thing New Zealand farmers learnt from the removal of subsidies was the need for constant innovation to ensure productivity gains and business success in a world without government support. New Zealand farmers now take full responsibility for their own success. This strong determination to succeed without government support is now ingrained into farmers’ mindsets here in New Zealand, and is one of the drivers of the constant innovation in our sector today.”

Former environment secretary, the Rt Hon Owen Paterson, said: “Ceasing production subsidies would bring many benefits to consumers and producers. It does not mean stopping financial support for farmers; it could even mean increasing support by adopting practices similar to those in Switzerland, rewarding farmers for the environmental and public goods they provide. However, stopping production subsidies is a prerequisite for forging new free-trade agreements and thus lowering food prices for all consumers. For producers, there are clear lessons to learn from New Zealand, where ceasing production subsidies in the 1980s brought a spectacular increase in productivity and a rapid growth in exports.”

National Farmers’ Union president, Meurig Raymond, said: “For many the abrupt loss of subsidy will be a massive concern, but for me the context in which it might happen is equally concerning. Will the government ensure farming can trade on fair terms abroad and at home? Will we get a fair return for our food from processors and retailers? Will consumers buy British produce, rather than lower standard imports? Uncertainty is paralysing the profitability, productivity and competitiveness of UK farming.”

Country Land & Business Association deputy president, Tim Breitmeyer, said: “New Zealand farmers have the ability to produce year-round and with higher levels of productivity. There is a marked difference in the attitude of New Zealanders to farming itself. Their approaches to issues such as animal welfare and natural resource protection would be unacceptable here, but they do enable them to produce at significantly lower costs. However, there are lessons to learn, for instance, agriculture receives government support to champion exports in the fast-growing markets of the Pacific Basin and invest in world leading research and development.”

The Three Counties Farming Conference starts at 2pm with afternoon workshops on rural affairs such as the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), employing a part time agricultural workforce and new opportunities in agriculture.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit farmingconference.co.uk or call 01684 584 924.