George Eustice today launched the Government's 'Path to sustainable farming', saying the plan would remove the old arbitrary subsidies and 'replace them with new payments and new incentives to reward farmers for farming more sustainably, creating space for nature on their land, enhancing animal welfare and delivering, of course, the other objectives set out in the Agriculture Act 2020.'
Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, responded by saying:
‘Putting our countryside and nature recovery, especially improving soil health and tackling climate change, at the centre of our post-Brexit farming policy is a huge step forward. This could be a watershed moment for farmers, countryside communities and action to tackle the climate and nature emergencies. But so much depends on Ministers getting the delivery and detail of new policy right.
‘Improving soil health will be critical in this recovery – healthy soils are the fundamental building blocks of agriculture, but have been an afterthought for too long. By protecting and regenerating our soils, we can produce more healthy food, prevent erosion, cut river pollution and carbon losses, and invite nature back to every farm. That’s why the government must support farmers to better understand, assess and manage their soils and encourage nature friendly farming across all of their land.
‘The future of farming as a diverse and innovative sector is being threatened by declining opportunities for new and young farmers to start their own business on a council farm. Council owned farms are being sold off at an accelerating pace. So, it is welcome news to see the New Entrant Support Scheme. But it’s more important than ever that the government reinvests in council farms to allow new and young farmers to get a foot in the barn door. Investing in the next generation of farmers is critical if we are to claim a brighter future for farming after we leave the EU.’