Future proofing our agricultural policy

Neil Parish MP, today spoke in the second reading of the Agriculture Bill.

 

As the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, and a former farmer who represents a rural seat, Neil has been fully scrutinising the Agriculture Bill.

 

During his speech, Neil supported the direction that the Agriculture Bill is taking our future farming policy. Neil also focused on fairness in the supply chain, and the future of support payments, saying that the work farmers do to protect and enhance our environment, whilst providing us with food security, should be recognised. However, he did raise particular concerns that the Bill does not contain enough detail, particularly in relation to food production, and certainty for farmers beyond the transition period.

 

Speaking afterwards Neil said: “The Agriculture Bill is a huge piece of legislation, which will shape our future agriculture policy. This is the first Agriculture Bill decided in the House of Commons since 1947. So it is not just about deciding policy for the now, it is about shaping the landscape of the future.

 

The Agriculture Bill has to be fully future-proofed. Future-proofing means reference to the long-term importance of food production in UK agriculture. Therefore the Bill does need a a tweak. Agriculture is not just about land management and protecting the environment – it is about producing high-quality, healthy and affordable food. A greater focus on these issues, and a more joined up approach, will actually help protect ‘public goods’ including public health and even making savings for our NHS. There are economic benefits to a healthy diet!

 

I was pleased to hear the Secretary of State pay tribute to our farmers here in the UK. They deserve high praise for all they do to protect and enhance our environment. Farmers are the true friends of the earth and the custodians of our countryside”.