Farmers, landowners and environmental groups are bringing a united message to Parliament today (October 30) calling for the Government to commit to long-term funding to new agricultural policies.

While these groups each seek independent amendments to the Agriculture Bill more widely, they are united in their advocacy that a commitment to long-term funding is crucial to achieving the Government’s ambitions of feeding the nation with high-quality food alongside delivering environmental benefits.

The groups are jointly hosting a drop-in event in Parliament this afternoon to present this message to MPs and Peers.

Organisations involved in the event include:

  • The Agricultural Industries Confederation;
  • The CLA (Country Land and Business Association);
  • National Farmers’ Union;
  • National Federation of Young Farmers;
  • National Sheep Association;
  • Nature Friendly Farming Network;
  • The Soil Association;
  • Tenant Farmers Association; and
  • Greener UK – a coalition of 13 major environmental organisations including National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust, WWF and The Wildlife Trusts.

Politicians expected to attend include Defra Secretary Michael Gove and Shadow Defra Secretary Sue Hayman.

They will be urged to support the organisations’ unified bid for the Agriculture Bill to establish a long-term multi-annual budgetary framework, that delivers certainty for the rural economy and farming.

CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said: “Good land management and profitable farming delivering a healthy environment requires long-term planning.

The CLA fully supports Government’s aspirations for a productive farming sector that also provides a range of public goods for society but politicians must recognise that delivery of new policies in the Agriculture Bill will require change and investment by farms and landowners.

“Greater certainty on longer-term funding intentions will help provide the confidence needed to make these changes.”

Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight was optimistic that the shakeup could improve relationships between sectors.

“The Agriculture Bill provides an opportunity to break down the barriers that have artificially divided farming and forestry for so long but it is essential that it is amended to provide a long-term funding mechanism.

“Land managers need to have confidence in the new system that sufficient support will be forthcoming to back them in delivering key public goods like more resilient and biodiverse habitats, flood alleviation and healthy soils,” she said.

Funding supporting policies

Tenant Farmers Association National chairman, James Gray said long-term policies must be matched with a long-term commitment to funding.

Having the right framework for a multi-annual budget must be a key component of the Agriculture Bill.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Minette Batters added: “Farming is a long-term business and farmers need clarity on what their regulatory environment will look like now for the years ahead.

“A commitment from Government in the Agriculture Bill that they will provide this certainty through clear long-term funding is essential.”