Changes since the Agriculture Bill 2018
When first introduced in Autumn 2018, the Agriculture Bill 2018 was widely thought to be progressive on key sustainability issues but was considered by many stakeholders to have little to no focus on food production as a public good. The newly introduced Agriculture Bill (now called Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 until it passes into law) has taken into account feedback, and subsequent work, to improve the position on a range of topics, including food security, that were not covered comprehensively in the previous 2018 Bill and takes the approach that sustainable agriculture and sustainable food production are mutually compatible.
In addition to the public money for public goods topics in the 2018 Bill, there is now a focus on food security and the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 now also includes:
Food Security – the UK Government will be required to report regularly to Parliament on food security
Financial Assistance Monitoring – monitoring, evaluation and reporting, by the Secretary of State, on the Government’s financial assistance schemes
Fertiliser Regulation – the power to regulate the fertiliser industry and will include updating the definition of fertiliser to take account of the latest technological advances
Organics Regulation – powers to tailor organics regulation to support UK producers so that the UK can continue to trade organic produce across the world
Animal Traceability Service – powers that allow a service provider to improve the collection and management of information relating to the identification, movement and health of animals
Soil Quality – Soil is now specifically named in the Bill so that financial assistance can be provided to farmers for protecting or improving soil quality.