I am extremely proud to support our farming sector that is so valuable not just to this region but to the whole country.
British farmers and growers are proud to produce safe, traceable and nutritious food we all love to eat to world-leading standards, as well as maintaining the iconic British countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy.
Farmers were rightly identified as key workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to those farmers in my constituency, and the wider food supply chain, we were able to ensure supermarket shelves were kept stocked and the nation was fed during this difficult time. I am very grateful for all that they have done and continue to do.
In Parliament, I remain committed to supporting our agricultural industries and farmers, and I am pleased that the Agriculture Bill will allow us to introduce ambitious new land management schemes in England, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, so that we can reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality food in a more sustainable way. The Bill will also help farmers to stay competitive, with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology. We will also improve transparency in the supply chain to help food producers strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.
The Government has guaranteed the annual farm budget for each year of this Parliament and nearly £3 billion will top up the remaining EU funding to match the total funding for direct payments that was available for 2019. The Agriculture Bill includes a seven-year transition period, during which Direct Payments will be phased out gradually from 2021. This will give farmers time to adapt and prepare for the new environmental land management system, which will allow them to decide how they can best deliver public goods from their business and their land.
Future policies will help farmers continue to provide a supply of healthy, home-grown produce made to high environmental and animal welfare standards. Powers in the Agriculture Bill provides support for farmers to invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure to improve their productivity. The Bill also improves the position of farmers in the supply chain, and makes available funding for business minded farmers who want to become more productive.