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'The hard work starts now', says NPA as Agriculture Bill becomes law

12th Nov 2020 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed news that the Agriculture Bill has become law, but has stressed there is still much to do to develop a coherent policy that will deliver public goods and benefit food producers.

Outdoor pigsThe Agriculture Act will set the framework for a fundamental shift in agricultural policy and funding that will see the ‘public money for public goods’ approach gradually replace the current swathe of CAP schemes.

The Basic Payment Scheme will be phased out over a seven-year transition period starting in 2021, with money gradually transferred to fund the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme. It will aim to deliver ‘public goods’, such as better air and water quality, thriving wildlife, soil health, measures to reduce flooding and initiatives to tackle the effects of climate change.

There will also be funding for initiatives to boost farm productivity, invest in technology and research and for animal health and welfare improvements through new ‘Pathways’ for the various livestock sectors.

There will be provisions for the Government to improve the transparency and fairness in the supply chain and a requirement for it to report on UK food security to Parliament every three years.

After the Government made key concessions last week, the legislation includes a requirement for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the impacts that future trade deals could have on the food and farming sector. Further amendments to the Trade Bill are expected to assign this responsibility to the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

You can read more about the Agriculture Act HERE

NPA reaction 

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies welcomed the 'landmark moment' that will set the legal framework for a transformation of agricultural policy in England.

"As a previously unsupported sector, the public goods agenda will bring opportunities for pig producers, with funding available for improving pig health and welfare, boosting productivity and the ability to invest in new technology. We are also pushing for ELMs to reflect the environmental benefits outdoor pig producers can bring.

"We welcome the aspiration to improve transparency in the supply chain and the addition of a food security element, alongside a requirement for greater scrutiny of trade deals and import standards. 

"But in many ways, the hard work starts now as we start to put flesh on the bones of the new Agriculture Act. There is a lot of work still to be done to develop schemes that deliver genuine public goods and benefits to producers and to ensure the sector remains fully competitive. 

"The NPA will continue to actively represent the pig sector's interests as these discussions unfold."