Agri-Food Chain Government Communications March 2020

2nd March 2020

Issued by Defra Agri-Food Chain Engagement Team

The e-bulletin contains information and communications that are relevant to Agri-Food businesses.

UK publishes US trade negotiations objectives

The UK Government have published their objectives for trade negotiations with the US. These outline the UK approach to negotiations with the US.

The Government say that the UK aims to secure free trade agreements with countries covering 80% of UK trade within the next three years, starting with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, in addition to the EU.

All new trade deals will be specifically tailored to the UK economy. The US negotiating objectives set out that any future agreement must uphold UK high standards on food safety and animal welfare.

Talks with the US are expected to start this month.

Defra consultation: food origin labelling

On Friday 21 February, Defra launched a consultation on food origin labelling enforcement. This consultation is running for four weeks and will close on Friday 20 March.

The consultation is specifically on enforcement measures in support of EU Implementing Regulation 2018/775. We are not proposing in this consultation any changes to what the existing rules already require on a food label.

The future of farming policy

There is now more information available about agricultural policy in England over the next ten years. This comes as the Agriculture Bill goes through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons.

The Farming for the Future update includes information about:

Productivity: From 2021, new government grants will help farmers to invest in equipment and technology which will help them to increase their productivity and deliver environmental benefits.

Research & Development: From 2022, Defra will support research and development projects to help our farming industry benefit from innovation, enabling farmers to produce food more efficiently and sustainably with lower emissions.

Animal Health and Welfare: A new deal will be struck between government and farmers to promote the production of healthier, higher welfare animals.

Environmental land management: policy discussion

On Tuesday 25 February, Defra released further details about the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM). It will transform how Defra support the agricultural sector by rewarding farmers with public money for public goods.

Responding to feedback from engagement so far, Defra are proposing a three-tier design that takes into account the diverse farming and environmental landscape in England and the range of outcomes Defra want to achieve.

You can read about ELM and take part in the discussion online now.

The discussion is open for 10 weeks (closing Tuesday 5 May). Defra will also be running regional events to discuss the proposals. More details on these, including dates and locations, will be released soon.

Environment Bill Passes its Second Reading

The Environment Bill is a transformative piece of legislation to help ensure that the UK maintains and improves our environmental protections as the UK leaves the EU.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament on Thursday 30 January and passed its Second Reading on Wednesday 26 February. The Bill will next go to the Committee Stage, a detailed line-by-line examination in Parliament. You can track the progress of the Environment Bill and read debates on all stages of the Bill’s passage on the Parliament website.

Strategic Priorities Fund launches call for applications for £5m Centre for Doctoral Training in food systems

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in partnership with government are pleased to announce a £5 million call to support one Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) focused on developing the next generation of interdisciplinary food systems thinkers. Further information, including details of a webinar on 6 March, are available on the UKRI website. The deadline for applications is 13 May 2020.