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The New Agriculture Bill

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The new Agriculture Bill, setting out the policy framework for supporting UK Agriculture post-Brexit, is due to be introduced into Parliament today (12 September 2018).

As the Government previously indicated, the new policy will not include a cap on payments to larger farmers but instead we will see a percentage reduction, with the aim of removing some of the obstacles for new entrants to the industry and taking back control for farmers.

The Bill includes a 7 year transition period from 2021 to allow time for the sector to adjust to the new payment regime.  The focus is on delivering environmental “public goods” and Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has described the new Bill as leading to a “brighter future” with the aim of increasing productivity alongside delivering benefits for our nature and wildlife.

Although the transition period is less than the 10 years we were hoping for, the 7 year period provides certainty for farmers and it is a longer transition period than many commentators predicted.

The new Environmental Land Management system (ELM) based on the Bill’s key principle of “public money for public goods” is due to be trialled from this year.  Under the new system the farmers who secure the highest rewards will be those who provide the greatest environmental benefits in terms of factors such as air and water quality, soil health, higher animal welfare standards, pubic access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

The Government wants to work closely with the farming industry to design and develop the ELM during this trial period.

If you have any queries a member of our dedicated Agricultural Team would be happy to discuss.