When I am asked about the future of our country’s farming and agricultural sector following Brexit, I can give reassuring news! This week, the Government launched an open consultation on the future of farming to get farmer’s views on new agricultural proposals.
This is an important step in helping ensure we get the right deal for our farmers whilst also protecting our beautiful countryside. When we leave the European Union, we leave the Common Agricultural Policy which will provide an opportunity for reform. The Government plans to make the most of this opportunity to design and deliver a bespoke domestic agricultural policy which will stand the test of time.
The new policy will try innovative new ideas that support investment in sustainable great British food production and that also deliver improvement for farming, our environment, and animal welfare. At the backbone of this will be a framework of incentives and rewards that encourage farmers to manage land sustainably, create natural habitats, and enhance animal welfare outcomes rather than the previous system of direct payments which subsidised farmers based on how much land they own.
Food production is the core of what farmers do, and is a basic necessity. That is why as a country we respect and admire the essential role that farmers play, but they are also custodians of our wonderful country. This Government will always work in partnership with farmers to ensure that they get the necessary support to enhance our beautiful countryside and wildlife.
The Government’s aim is to ensure farming becomes more profitable to help the next generation of farmers to enter the industry and to support farmers investing in new sustainable equipment and technology. We are fortunate to have some of the most productive and innovative farmers in the world and the growing worldwide demand for quality British food shows this.
Last Friday, I met with some of these farmers at Castle Farm between Hastings and Rye. We discussed local farming matters and talked about how the agricultural industry can continue to prosper both locally and nationally. We also spoke about their hopes for the future, and I am pleased that under this Government it will be a bright one indeed. Whether it is working alongside Sussex Police to address rural crime, or supporting the development of agricultural policy in the UK as we prepare to leave the EU, I will continue to meet with our local farmers regularly and work hard to convey their interests to the Government.
I encourage our local farmers to make our voices heard and take part in the Government’s open consultation to help ensure we get the right deal as we leave the EU. I am excited to see what the future holds for our farmers.