2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for the pandemic – for lockdowns and restrictions, and the challenges faced by us all across the country. Yet it should also be remembered for the progress that has been made, and the support and solidarity between communities.
During the first national Lockdown, NFFN brought together a report: Feeding The Nation: How Nature Friendly Farmers Are Responding To Covid-19. Not only did this report showcase the incredible achievements of farmers to diversify and support their local communities, but it also reminded us of the important role they play as stewards of the land and providers of healthy, nutritious, and affordable food.
What the pandemic also showed was the real need for a sustainable framework to properly support and fund our farmers. Despite the pressures of COVID, NFFN continued to play an important part in working with partners to influence the Government when developing its policy agenda on these issues and we were pleased to see the landmark Agricultural Bill become law only a few weeks ago – a long time in the making!
Whilst the Agriculture Act is not perfect, and we are disappointed that our high environmental and animal welfare standards have not yet been written into law, we welcomed the positive debate about the future of farming in this country and the need for nature-friendly farming.
It doesn’t end here though and our work certainly isn’t over yet, and many key pieces of legislation continue to make their way through the Westminster Parliament, including the Trade Bill and Environment Bill. Alongside this, the devolved nations are also developing their own frameworks, including Wales where an Agriculture Bill Consultation for Wales was launched only this week.
Wider farming policy is also still being worked on and we welcomed the Secretary of State, Rt Hon George Eustice MP, unveiling plans for the agricultural transition period last month. We need much more clarity on the Government’s thinking around this, as well as the development of Environmental Land Management, and NFFN will continue to press hard on both of these issues, on behalf of our members and supporters.
So, whilst the calendar year comes to an end, many of these issues and challenges do not, but rest assured that NFFN are looking ahead to 2021 and how we can champion the cause of nature-friendly farming. There are some exciting moments next year and we invite you to share with us any goals you might be setting for you, your farm or elsewhere, to promote the cause of nature-friendly farming.
See you in 2021!