The government has introduced a new Agriculture Bill which aims to reward farmers and land managers with public money for providing public goods.
The new legislation has incorporated feedback from those working in the agricultural sector and includes more focus on food production and environmentally-friendly farming.
There will be a seven-year transition period from 2021 to the end of 2027 – so that farmers can plan and adjust to a new domestic farming system.
Direct Payments in England will be phased out during this period of transition and will de-link the payments from the requirement to farm land to encourage diversification and innovation.
Highlights of the Bill
The new Bill also sets requirements for government reporting on food security and will include the resilience of the supply chain, supply sources and food safety.
Farmers will be rewarded for protecting or improving soil quality will be rewarded. For example, assistance for soil monitoring programmes and soil health research could be made available to support farmers with their decision-making and soil management.
The government will have the power to effectively regulate the fertiliser industry when the UK leaves the EU, including updating the definition of a fertiliser to take account of the latest technological advances.
The Bill includes powers to tailor organics regulation so that it works for UK producers and to allow trading of organic produce to continue across the world.