Abi took up the post of chief reporter at Farmers Guardian after a stint working for the NFU as part of its government affairs team.

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The Government is known to be working on two options to support the sheep sector in a no-deal Brexit - headage payments and a slaughterhouse premium on lambs.

Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers also hinted the department may be considering ways to cushion the blow for other sectors during an Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee hearing on September 9, though would not reveal any details of these plans.

Given the RPA has struggled in the past to get BPS payments out on time, and the long waits farmers have had for agri-environment cash, concern has been growing about how the agency would cope with the extra workload.

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