A future where farmers are properly supported to farm more innovatively and protect the environment is a step closer today following the introduction of the Agriculture Bill.
The landmark legislation, introduced today, will provide a boost to the industry after years of inefficient and overly bureaucratic policy dictated to farmers by the EU.
It sets out how farmers and land managers in England will in the future be rewarded with public money for “public goods” – such as better air and water quality, higher animal welfare standards, improved access to the countryside or measures to reduce flooding.
This will contribute to the government’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, while at the same time, helping to boost farmers’ productivity.
This will replace the current subsidy system of Direct Payments which pays farmers for the total amount of land farmed, skewing payments towards the largest landowners rather than those farmers delivering specific public benefits.
Instead, the new measures will provide a better future for agriculture in this country, maximising the potential of the land for food production and for delivering public goods.
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Our landmark Agriculture Bill will transform British farming, enabling a balance between food production and the environment which will safeguard our countryside and farming communities for the future.
“This is one of the most important environmental reforms for many years, rewarding farmers for the work they do to safeguard our environment and helping us meet crucial goals on climate change and protecting nature and biodiversity.”
Ms Villiers said the Agriculture Bill will move away from the EU’s “bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy” and towards a fairer system which rewards “hard-working farmers for delivering public goods, celebrating their world-leading environmental work and innovative, modern approach to food production”.