MPs to start setting path of UK Agriculture Policy next week

Politicians are currently preparing to debate new legislation in the House of Commons during the Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill.

The reading, which will take place next week, will mark the first time in a generation that the future of UK farming will be decided in this way.

The debate will set the agenda for the Committee Stage of the Bill which will see detailed amendments tabled and voted upon.

‘Precious little wisdom in politics’

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) said it is challenging MPs from across all parties to “work constructively” towards the end goal.

TFA chief executive, George Dunn said: “This will be the first time that the UK Parliament will have had to think about setting a clear strategy for UK agriculture since before we joined the European Union in 1973.

“MPs must grasp the enormity of this task and the responsibility that is now being placed on their shoulders to deliver for farming, the environment and the health and welfare of our citizens.

Sadly, over the past two years, we have seen precious little of wisdom or diplomacy within the political debate and even less of any sense of consensus in planning for the future.

“I hope that, as the Agriculture Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Commons, Members of Parliament from all sides of the House corral around a positive agenda for UK agriculture.

“This must involve ensuring the future sustainability and resilience of domestic farming, protecting the environmental and animal welfare standards to which we operate and providing for a fair standard of living for agricultural producers.”

The TFA will begin briefing MPs this week on important policy points including ensuring that there is a Government commitment to long-term, adequate funding for any new policy.

It hopes the new policy will target assistance towards active farmers to achieve fair returns from the marketplace, providing the capacity for farmers to invest to improve productivity and protect high production standards against cheaper imported products.

The TFA is also lobbying for changes in agricultural tenancy legislation.