Brexit, the Agriculture Bill and Environmental Bill

Brexit has happened and the country is still functioning, albeit with the ongoing threat of Coronavirus.

Brexit has allowed the UK to take stock and plan which is similar, we are told, to the situation after the second world war.
Future farming policy will concentrate on productivity, public goods and a structural change to the industry.

So what does that mean?

Future Policy is about productivity, less focused on payment.

2020 Agriculture Bill – is the new and improved bill from the 2018 one which was put on hold with the general election, etc. It provides continuity of powers for changing support, public money for public goods, environmental gains, soil flooding, animal welfare, and biodiversity and the new ELMS scheme.

  • Security now also gets a mention with wide-ranging powers to require collection and sharing of data in agri-food supply chain and for fair dealing for farmers in the supply chain.
  • Financial assistance is also provided within the act with public money for public goods starting or improving the productivity of an agricultural, horticultural or forestry activity and supporting ancillary activities carried on by all four producers.

There are chapters on flooding, soil quality, and ancillary activities to production which could lead to things such as marketing.

On BPS we have a 7 year transition period from 2021 – 2028 and at the end of that period, BPS is gone.

Productivity, ELMS, animal welfare, plant health payments are to be brought in during the transition period.

A set of measures with Tenancies has also been included, which will widen the powers of an appointment of an Arbitrator, to include not only the RICS but the CAAV and the ALA and with successions, commercial units have to be repealed, the suitability test to be revised and retirement cases can go to the Tribunal before the age of 65.

More issues are likely to arise from the Environmental Bill which provides further polices. This coupled with the 25-year environment plan is going to impose substantial restrictions on farmers.

There are long term targets for air quality, water, biodiversity and resource efficiency in waste reduction.

In summary, we are likely to see 10 years of change that could lead to substantial alteration to the current structure on land ownership, occupation and farming systems.