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Brian Maxwell

Agriculture Act 2020 receives Royal Assent

Posted by Brian Maxwell on November 13th 2020 in AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL AFFAIRS .

On 11 November 2020, the Agriculture Act 2020 (AA 2020) received royal assent.

The Agriculture Bill 2019-21 was published on 16 January 2020. The Government introduced  an Agriculture Bill 2017-19 in the last Parliament which fell at dissolution in October 2019. The Lords agreed to  the final Commons amendments on 9 November 2020. The final version of the AA 2020 includes a number of new measures including, a requirement for Ministers to consider the need to encourage the production of food in England, in an environmentally sustainable way; set out multi-annual plans about how they will use their financial assistance powers, and a requirement to report on food security at least once every five years.

The AA 2020 also provides for:

  • Enabling powers for Ministers to develop new farm support approaches in England. Direct payments will be phased out starting in 2021 over a seven-year period. New schemes to pay farmers for producing 'public goods' such as environmental or animal welfare improvements will be introduced. New items to products that can be given financial support, notably soil protection and improvement.
  • Ministers powers to intervene in agricultural markets in exceptional conditions, such as to provide farmers with financial support or operate public intervention and private storage aid schemes.
  • Sets out measures to increase transparency and fairness in the supply chain for farmers and food producers.
  • Includes provisions to enable the UK to meet its obligations under the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture. The WTO Agreement sets limits on how support that is considered trade-distorting a country may provide..

Further details on plans to support our farmers and land managers over the agricultural transition period are due to be published later this month. Practical Law Agriculture and Rural Land will be updating our resources to cover AA 2020 over the next few weeks.