Keep checking back on this page for the latest information as the Agriculture Bill makes its way through Parliament.
The Agriculture Bill had its first reading in the House of Commons on 12 September and will next be considered by MPs at its second reading, which is scheduled for 10 October. You can read the Bill in full here.
Separately, the government has published a policy statement in response to its Health and Harmony consultation on the future of food, farming and the environment. The statement sets out the government's ambitions for English agricultural policy over the next 10 years and the role of the Agriculture Bill in achieving those ambitions.
The NFU's EU exit and international trade team have put together a briefing which summarises the government's policy statement - click here for the top line news (you will be asked to log in).
Log in to read the NFU's response to the provisions of the Agriculture Bill and the government’s accompanying statements. The NFU will continue to examine the fine details of the Bill and develop policy accordingly, providing more targeted briefs for MPs for the different stages of the passage of the Bill, starting with the second reading in the Commons expected on 10 October.
Key dates and work:
- Agriculture Bill information hub launched on NFUonline - a one-stop shop for all the latest on the Bill as it progresses through Parliament and analysis from the NFU's expert advisers.
- NFU publishes its reaction to the Bill and its lobbying priorities for the different stages of the passing of the Bill.
- NFU's EU exit and international trade team publishes summary of government's policy statement in response to its Health and Harmony consultation.
- BPS and the Agriculture Bill - a developing list of questions and answers put together by the NFU's BPS experts
12 September - Agriculture Bill first introduced into Parliament
- NFU publishes initial reaction to the release of the Agriculture Bill - including initial briefing with an overview of the announcement and what it means.
- NFU report, UK: A Nation United by Food, sent to hundreds of MPs around the country.
- Back British Farming Day - NFU urges politicians to demonstrate their support for British farming as Agriculture Bill enters Parliament.
Key NFU work in the run up to the Agriculture Bill:
- The NFU's director of EU exit and international trade, Nick von Westenholz, sets out the NFU's expectations of the Agriculture Bill and the key principles shaping the NFU's advocacy as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
- NFU President Minette Batters sends Manifesto for a Successful Brexit to Prime Minister on behalf of more than 100 organisations from across the UK's food supply chain.
- NFU makes robust response to government's Health and Harmony consultation, providing vision for vision for a sustainable, profitable and progressive future for farm businesses.
- The NFU's Speak Up For Farming's Future campaign galvanises responses from members and the public to the government's Health and Harmony consultation.
- NFU publishes its vision for a future Domestic Agricultural Policy.
The timeline below shows the various stages of scrutiny and debate that the Bill will go through before becoming law - click on the image for a larger version.
In response to the introduction of the Agriculture Bill to Parliament on 12 September, NFU President Minette Batters said:
“The NFU, alongside the whole food supply chain, has been absolutely clear about the essential ingredients for a progressive, profitable, and sustainable food and farming sector post Brexit.
"These include comprehensive measures to improve the environment and productivity and tackle volatility alongside free and frictionless trade and access to a competent and reliable workforce. The Bill, as described in the announcement falls short of our aspirations in these regards.
“It is vital that in the future British farmers can continue to meet the food needs of a growing population. A future agricultural policy that ignores food production will be damaging for farmers and the public alike. The public demand and deserve safe, high-quality, traceable affordable food, whatever their income. And moreover they want British farms to supply that food.
“Farmers across the UK will be very concerned that the Bill provides only a short term commitment to improve their competitiveness; we cannot future-proof farming businesses based on the ‘time-limited’ initiatives outlined in this announcement.
“Along with other farmers I will also be looking to the Bill to set out means to address the clear market failure in food chain that means farmers are not rewarded fairly for the risk and investment they make. British farmers will need to compete with farmers all over the world, nearly all of whom are supported financially to produce food. If British farmers are to underpin the nation’s food security, then they will need the right financial and policy framework to do so in a competitive and volatile global marketplace.
“We will look closely at the government’s proposals for a seven year transition period, during which direct payments will be phased-out, to ensure we’re satisfied that this will be sufficient. In particular, the Bill must provide government with the powers to pause the process if it is proving unmanageable for farmers, and if our domestic food supply and food security are under threat.
“We are entering an historic period for farming with legislation setting the path for the next generation of farmers and the countryside. With critical decisions still to be taken in the months and years ahead it would be foolhardy for the government to embark on such a path without knowing trading environment in which it will be set. A free and frictionless trade deal with our biggest trading partner, the EU, is absolutely critical to the farming industry.”
:: Mrs Batters was featured on the Today programme on 12 September talking about the Bill - listen again here (2hrs 10m).