Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, asked the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs about future funding arrangements for farmers and land managers.
During the Secretary of State’s statement on the Agricultural Transition Plan Dr Hudson asked:
“I welcome the statement today and as a vet that high animal health and welfare will be recognised as a key public good. The farmers in Penrith and The Border and across the UK produce top quality food to the highest standards. Will my Right Honourable Friend assure the farmers and land managers in my constituency and across the UK that when the Direct Payments scheme ends, this new way of funding will be secure and long term, so that they can plan accordingly and continue to produce local food sustainably to benefit our rural communities for generations to come?”
In response the Secretary of State said:
“Yes, I can tell my honourable friend that the Agriculture Act sets out very clear objectives included in that, as well as the environmental objectives, are objectives of animal health and welfare. We recognise that that is a public good and it is right that the public purse should be willing to support improvements in those areas. And it also includes support for genetic resources such as our native and rare breeds and many farmers in many parts of the country will be able to access that.”
Speaking after the Commons session Dr Hudson added:
“I was encouraged by the response I received and that the high animal health and welfare is recognised as a public good by the Government. It was great to have clarification that farmers will be able to access funding support that can help them in producing local food for local people. The need for high quality, locally-produced food has been magnified during the Covid crisis where supply chains have been stretched.”
“I will continue to engage with Government on these issues as it is important that farmers and land managers in Cumbria continue to receive necessary financial support for their work so they can plan for the future.”