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Food and Farming Policy 2017: Our Priorities

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Food and Farming Policy 2017

Following the general election result on 9 June, we’ve been calling on the new government to give food and farming a higher priority than ever before.

The new government will have a unique opportunity to produce an agricultural policy for the first time in decades. We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to transform our relationship with food, farming and the countryside for the better 

Why is this important?

Through food and farming, we can tackle some of the most challenging issues that our nation faces. Challenges such as climate change, public health, soil protection and farm animal welfare.  

What are we asking for?

We’re proposing eight policies that we’d like to see at the heart of the new government’s food and farming vision, which will help address these challenges. These are:

  1. Investing in healthy soils – through soil stewardship payments, mandatory soil testing, incentives for more grass and clover, and agroforestry
  2. Zero carbon farming by 2050 – a commitment to ensuring the agriculture and food sector plays its part in tackling climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement
  3. Funding for farmer-led research – allocate 10% of the current research and development budget for innovative agriculture projects led by farmers themselves
  4. Stronger support for organic farming – building on the current system to increase the amount of land farmed using organic methods to benefit the environment and improve animal welfare, and to meet growing consumer demand for organic food
  5. A ‘good life’ for all farm animals within 10 years – setting a new welfare framework for all farm animals supported by the mandatory method of production labelling, stronger regulation of farm antibiotic use, and public investment to help farmers make the transition
  6. Investing in child health – commit to creating an environment where it is normal, easy and enjoyable for children and young people to eat well
  7. Better public procurement – to widen public access to healthier, higher welfare, local and organic food and to build stable markets for farmers and growers
  8. Every hospital becomes a ‘beacon of good food’ – contributing towards the ‘radical upgrade in prevention and public health’ called for in the NHS Five Year Forward View

There’s a briefing on these here. We’re also highlighting the need for more coordinated working across departments and with devolved administrations - and better resourcing of DEFRA is also essential.

These priorities build on our recent report, setting out six game-changing ideas to transform food and farming alongside seven principles to underpin future policy in this area.

How can I take action?

You can help by asking your local MP what they are doing to ensure soil protection is a top priority for food and farming policy - and sending them a copy of this article. We’d love to hear what they say, so please do drop us an email to let us know.

Want to make this change happen? Join the Soil Association today to shape a UK food and farming system fit for our future.

If you’d like to know more of our policy priorities, or you would like to stay up to date with other food and farming policy, you can visit our Food and Farming Policy Hub.

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