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How will the new legislation for sustainable farming benefit the UK?

sustainable farming

In the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years, the UK government plans to deliver a better, fairer farming system in England.

The aim is to transform the way in which farmers are supported. Changes will come into force over a seven-year period to help farmers adapt and plan for the future.

A new system for English farmers

With the UK now outside the EU and no longer bound by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, the government plans to introduce a new system that is custom-made for English farmers, and focusses on support and rewards for farmers and land managers pursuing sustainable farming practices.

2028 targets

The changes are designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably and profitably produce healthy food without subsidy, while taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce carbon emissions.

Detailed documentation

A document entitled Path to Sustainable Farming has been published by the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which sets out more detail on the changes and what they will mean for farmers.

Key features

A summary of the key features of the new changes includes:

– introducing the Environmental Land Management scheme to incentivise sustainable farming practices, the creation of more natural habitats and the establishment of new woodland.

– investing in improving animal health and welfare as part of a more sustainable farming approach, with an initial focus on controlling or eradicating endemic diseases amongst cattle, pigs, and sheep.

– a new 2021 Basic Payment Scheme, where money is released to fund new grants and schemes to boost productivity and reward environmental improvements.

– launching a Farming Investment Fund, which will support innovation and productivity, and offer grants for equipment, technology, and infrastructure.

– simplifying and improving existing schemes and application processes, providing a new approach to regulation, reducing red tape to help ease the burden on farmers.

Historic but necessary changes

The introduction of the plan marks an historic shift in the way land is managed. It provides potential for achieving sustainable production of food while also addressing the decline of nature and natural habitats.

More than two thirds of England is farmed, and this plan provides incentive for those who farm the land to produce healthy food alongside other vital benefits, such as thriving wildlife, reduced flood risk, clean water, carbon storage, and beautiful landscapes.

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