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Environment Secretary George Eustice on future agriculture policy in England at the NFU conference 2021

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An image of rolling green hills

There has been prominent positive coverage in The Telegraph (p.10), Daily Star (p.2), Western Morning News (p.1), Western Daily Press (p.20), Farmers Guardian and Farming UK following the Environment Secretary’s speech at the NFU Live conference yesterday (Tuesday 23 February).

In his speech he said farmers can face the future with confidence now that we have left the EU as many sectors continue to see strong market prices and the UK’s self-sufficiency in food production has increased for the first time since 2014.

The Environment Secretary invited farmers across England to take part in the next crucial stage of the Government’s flagship green farming policy. He announced that hundreds of farmers around the country will pilot the Sustainable Farming Incentive.

After nearly 50 years of being tied to burdensome outdated EU rules, we have an opportunity to build back greener. The Sustainable Farming Incentive is a new scheme which will reward farmers for taking actions that benefit the wider environment to create greener landscapes, promote cleaner air and water, and guard against environmental risks such as climate change and flooding.

In his speech at the NFU Conference, Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

Now that we have left the EU, new payments and incentives will reward farmers for farming more sustainably, creating space for nature on their land, enhancing animal welfare and reducing carbon emissions.

The era of top down EU rules is over. Our future policy is about supporting the choices farmers make for their own holdings.

The pilot will allow farmers to choose from a range of standards based on specific features of the natural environment such as grassland, hedgerows, water bodies or woodland. Each standard brings clear environmental benefits and contains several actions which farmers can apply to their own farms in order to receive payment.

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  1. Comment by William Hughes-Games posted on

    Someone should send George and all his staff a copy of Growing a Revolution by Montgomery. At the very least send him the URL for the talk by Montgomery.

  2. Comment by Ian Myers posted on

    ELMS has the potential to extend the area for nature but nowhere near enough to restore damage over the last 50 years. Any payments won't apply for all farmers just those who opt in. Many won't quality or will take a different path and that may not deliver the changes we need. EU policies weren't always 'outdated' many are progressive and what we have now might not be secure anyway. Brexit doesn't help farm incomes at all. Regardless we need less sheep, cows and pigs and that means less cereals for feed if we are going to reduce our carbon footprint and restore land and water quality - not sure that is just the responsibility of farmers alone.