With Brexit looming, we now have sight of the government’s plan to support UK agriculture once we leave the EU.
On 30 November, Defra launched the ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ which outlines a series of actions to be driven and implemented over the next seven years.
The industry has been waiting for clarity on this situation and it’s encouraging to see more details of the transition timetable and strategy, as subsidy payments are phased out and the focus switches to providing farm businesses with the tools and resources required to drive environmental and economic sustainability.
Livestock clearly has an important role to play in creating a sustainable farming system, and it was therefore essential that the government recognised this in their plans. There’s a commitment to investing in improving animal health and welfare, with the initial focus on controlling or eradicating endemic diseases. This is one of CIEL’s grand challenges for which much of our capability focuses on supporting innovation and driving change in this area.
Stakeholder events are earmarked for spring 2021 to provide more detail on the animal health schemes that will be implemented. Animal welfare labelling consultations are also being alluded to. This provides the perfect opportunity for the industry to collaborate to help inform policy and create a support framework that works for the livestock sector.
The launch of the Farming Investment Fund to support innovation and productivity is also good to see. This year CIEL has helped facilitate important industry-led research across all sectors that will drive innovation within the livestock supply chain and deliver practical on-farm solutions. We know that this is needed to create a sustainable farming future. Indeed, our report Net Zero Carbon & UK Livestock highlighted the urgent need for innovation in order to achieve our carbon neutral ambition for 2050.Lyndsay Chapman, CIEL CEO
We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners across the supply chain to develop and deliver the innovations that are required at farm level.
UK agriculture is about to go through one of the biggest changes it has seen since World War II. It’s is an exciting time for the sector. However, we must rise to the opportunity and share our thoughts to ensure we build a support scheme that benefits our food for the future.
For a summary of the headline points of Defra’s Agricultural Transition Plan, please see the ‘Farming is Changing’ document.