A number of constituents have contacted me about the UK's future agricultural policy to support organic farming and users of other agroecological systems.
Food and farming is a bedrock of our economy and environment, generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes. Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. By starting from first principles we can bring in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare.
The Agriculture Bill establishes how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, for instance better air and water quality, improved soil health, higher animal welfare standards, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.
The new environmental land management (ELM) system will bring in a new era for farming, providing an income stream for farmers and land managers who protect and preserve our natural environment. For the first time, farmers and land managers will be able to decide for themselves how they can deliver environmental benefits from their businesses and their land, and how they integrate this into their food, timber and other commercial activities.
Organic farmers and users of agroecological systems will therefore be well placed to benefit from ELM due to the environmental benefits they produce, such as increased biodiversity and improved soil quality, which contribute to the delivery of these goals.
The Bill will allow us to reward farmers who protect our environment, leaving the countryside in a cleaner, greener and healthier state for future generations.