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    Agriculture Bill: Sensible, realistic developments can improve land stewardship

    4 February 2020

    Ag Bill latest stage: February 3, 2020. Second reading in the House of Commons


    As the Agriculture Bill makes its way through Parliament, we’ve been gathering responses from members of the university community on what it means for the future of farming. Today, we share some thoughts from Paul Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Soil and Environmental Science.


    As someone who passionately believes that food production, land management and environmental protection are firmly linked and can be achieved together, I am pleased to see the role of all three highlighted strongly in the Bill.

    Farmers have a direct and indirect role in hugely important areas that affect the wider population – safe, wholesome, quality food, clean water, viable soils, carbon capture etc – so it’s good to see that these will be supported and rewarded through the ‘public money for public goods’ model.

    I’m hoping that the transitional introduction for these changes in support will allow these areas to be considered fully and proportionately so that the measures, payments etc are realistic and suitable. We need good quality research data, use of monitor farms, knowledge exchange opportunities and practical policy extension work to help achieve this.

    For example, improvements in soil organic matter, soil health and carbon mitigation take time to achieve and so quickly introduced, knee jerk changes aren’t the way forward.

    The agricultural community as land stewards already work hard in helping the environment, so good sensible realistic developments can make this even better.



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