Thank you for contacting me about farming.
I remain committed to supporting our agricultural industries and farmers, and I am pleased that the Agriculture Bill will allow us to introduce ambitious new land management schemes in England, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, so that we can reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality food in a more sustainable way. The Bill will also help farmers to stay competitive, with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology. We will also improve transparency in the supply chain to help food producers strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.
The Government has guaranteed the annual farm budget for each year of this Parliament and nearly £3 billion will top up the remaining EU funding to match the total funding for direct payments that was available for 2019. The Agriculture Bill includes a seven-year transition period, during which Direct Payments will be phased out gradually from 2021. This will give farmers time to adapt and prepare for the new environmental land management system, which will allow them to decide how they can best deliver public goods from their business and their land.
Future policies will help farmers continue to provide a supply of healthy, home-grown produce made to high environmental and animal welfare standards. Powers in the Agriculture Bill provides support for farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to improve their productivity. The Bill also improves the position of farmers in the supply chain, and makes available funding for business minded farmers who want to become more productive.
British consumers want high welfare produce – and if our trading partners want to break into the UK market, they should expect to meet those standards. Our manifesto commitment is clear that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any deals live up to the values of our farmers and consumers.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP