The UK has now passed its Agriculture Bill, considered a landmark moment for the country.
After years of farming policies dictated by the EU, the Bill, introduced in January, will give the industry a boost enabling farmers and land managers in England the opportunity to seek fairer returns from the marketplace, investing in new technology, increase productivity whilst remaining competitive.
The Agriculture Bill was created with the primary objective to reward the farmers and land managers in England for the benefit of the public, like better air and water quality, soil health, and how to tackle the effects of climate change. These incentives will provide a powerful vehicle for getting everything done under the 25-year environment plan and the UK’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Also, at the same time, this Bill includes measures designed for boosting their overall productivity and ultimately maximising the potential of the land.
Some of the items discussed in the new UK agriculture bill:
- Empower the UK farmers and landowners and reward them for their excellent work.
- There will be a new agricultural system, and farmers will have 7 years to transition into this.
- The UK government will roll out productivity grants for farmers and land managers.
- The Countryside Stewardship scheme will remain open for new applications during the transition period.
- The Bill will support new systems to help farmers and landowners produce high-quality products for UK consumers.
- The Bill will help reduce costs to farmers and landowners and help with profitability.
- The Bill will support new players in the industry.
- The government will have to report every 3 years to the parliament on food security within the UK.
- Farmers and landowners can apply for financial assistance for protecting and improving the quality of the soil they use.
- The secretary of state will be more involved in the projects and monitor the financial reports more frequently to update the stakeholders on how well the financial schemes work for the farmers and landowners.
- There will be more regulations around the fertiliser used as the UK plans to leave the EU.
- A new red meat levy will be collected at slaughterhouses within the UK. The levies collected by one levy body can be transferred to another levy body when needed.
- The supply chain for food products and farm owners will be more transparent and fair with the new bill in place.
- According to the new bill, there will be further restrictions on certifications of organic products based on the need of the UK’s agricultural sector.
What the Environment secretary of UK, George Eustice, had to say:
- The funds that get released due to phasing out the BPS (basic payment scheme) will be reinvested into the rollout of the new farming policy.
- The new initiatives will be around sustainable farming practices.
He also said, “We will support farmers in reducing their costs and improving their profitability, to help those who want to retire or leave the industry to do so with dignity, and to create new opportunities and support for new entrants coming into the industry.”
NFU President Minette Batters said the following about the new Agriculture Bill of the UK:
- “Two years ago when the Bill was first published, the clear absence of food production and food security troubled many.”
- “ The Agriculture Act will set how we farm in this country for generations to come.”
The NFU is one of the most successful representation bodies for agriculture in the UK and represents around 46000 farming-related businesses.