Person holding a bunch of carrots

Brexit Changes Put Countryside & Farming At Risk

Brexit Risk For Countryside & Farming

These are uncertain times for the future of farming. As the Government prepares to leave the EU, we welcome a major new report from a cross-party group of MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which recognises the huge amount of worry and uncertainty faced by UK farmers. 

Last year, I gave evidence to this committee in Parliament, to highlight the integral importance of soil health and organic farming in tackling climate change, improving public health, and protecting our precious environment.We welcome the EAC conclusion that farming and environment policies are interdependent – highlighting the need for a far more coordinated approach. In light of the damage to public health from diet related ill-health and the urgent need to tackle antibiotic resistance, the Government response to this inquiry must also pay more attention to the vital links between food and farming policy and public health.

Organic farmers and growers across the UK provide some of the best examples of how to farm in a way that restores soil fertility, boosts productivity, tackles climate change, improves public health, prioritises animal welfare, and reverses the decline in nature and wildlife. Consumer demand for better food is increasing and the organic market is in strong growth. 

The UK’s future agricultural policy and subsidy regime must include clear objectives to support existing organic producers  - and help more farmers adopt environmentally sustainable methods so that they become the norm.  We also support the call from the EAC for all future subsidy payments to be linked to the delivery of public goods, supported by strong evidence, with a focus on ensuring criteria for farm subsidies are simple and targeted with measurable outcomes.

Food and farming should work in harmony with the environment, not against it. This report from the Environmental Audit Committee is a great step towards protecting our environment in uncertain times, and none of it would be possible without your generous support and tenacity. But we still have a long way to go, and many challenges ahead. Please join or donate today, and be part of the solution.