I have been contacted regarding the UK’s future agricultural policy.
I am pleased that 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.
Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. 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 will allow the UK to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods including environmental protection, access to the countryside, and work to reduce flooding. In order to spend more on boosting productivity and environmental benefits, Direct Payments will be phased out over an agricultural transition period, which is due to start in 2021 and run for seven years.
I am pleased that the Agriculture Bill will champion British food by improving transparency and fairness in the supply chain and through investing in new technology and research to ensure our food producers remain competitive and innovative. The Government will also help food producers strengthen their negotiating position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return by collecting data from across the supply chain.
We must take this opportunity to use public money to reward environmentally-responsible land use, as well as maintaining and enhancing high standards of animal welfare. I am convinced that we will harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us.
I will ensure that my ministerial colleagues are made aware of the views that have been raised with me.