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The Government must show leadership in farming

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 09:05

CPRE has produced a new report entitled 
New model farming: resilience through diversity.

CPRE’s new report calls on the Government to show leadership, post-Brexit, by setting out a new vision for farming that goes beyond short-term economic priorities – with a policy agenda to match. Farming has multiple purposes and it must be challenged to aim beyond food production, delivering beautiful landscapes, clean water, abundant wildlife, better flood management and improved carbon storage. These are clear public benefits that would justify continued public investment in farming.

New Model Farming’ includes policy recommendations, including:

  • ensuring that a much higher proportion of public funds are directly linked to delivering public benefits
  • encouraging more dynamism and diversity in farming by making land available to new groups of farmers and communities, such as through a community right to bid, and a transparent register of landholdings; and
  • promoting the use of low cost technologies and techniques to benefit all farmers.

Current trends towards a narrow, industrialised, farm sector have long inflicted damage on our vital natural assets such as landscape, wildlife, soils and water. Farmland birds have more than halved in the past 40 years and soil damage is estimated to cost £1.2 billion per year. There are also 34,000 fewer farms in the UK than there were a decade ago. This trend is leading to a less resilient farming sector, with a bias towards larger farms – current estimates suggest that around 80% of Common Agricultural Policy payments go to the 20% largest businesses. The Brexit vote offers a chance for farming to become more diverse and environmentally resilient.

The report was researched and written by Graeme Willis CPRE’s senior rural policy campaigner, and is available to download for free here:


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