Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

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Next steps for UK agricultural policy - Agricultural Transition Plan | Sector priorities across farming types | Environmental protection & sustainable practices | Finance & diversification | Sector engagement & skills | Addressing key challenges

May 2024

Price: £150 PLUS VAT

This conference focused on next steps for agriculture policy in the UK, including implementation of new approaches and policy, and key issues for the sector.

It brought stakeholders together with policymakers to examine implementation of new payments to farmers and schemes to support agriculture, following ambitions outlined as part of the Agricultural Transition Plan updated in January 2024, which includes improving engagement with farmers.

Delegates assessed strategies for diversification of income streams for farmers in the context of rising maintenance costs, and key implications of policy changes for the wider agri-food sector, looking at food producers and retailers, the agricultural supply chain, food security, protecting the environment, investment and financing local economies.

It was an opportunity to discuss key issues and priorities for implementation, including securing income from participation in payment schemes, actions to support sustainable land management, and the skills and engagement with the sector required to support the transition to sustainable agricultural practices across different types of farming.

Following The Rock Review published last year, as well as commitments made in the updated Agricultural Transition Plan to improve access to schemes, delegates assessed the way forward for making sustainable farming incentives work for tenant farming, with discussion on the flexibility and collaboration needed to support sustainable land management, and to address wider sectoral pressures.

Delegates examined opportunities and challenges for diversification of income streams for farmers following the Permitted Development Rights consultation held by DLUHC last year, and options for updating rights around developing agricultural units and agricultural diversification. Further sessions looked at improving public engagement with farms, utilising under-used sites and identifying opportunities for renewable energy, as well as options for short-term income whilst transitioning to long-term schemes.

We are pleased to have been able to include a ministerial keynote session with Rt Hon Sir Mark Spencer MP, Minister of State, Food, Farming and Fisheries, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (pre-recorded contribution).

Further keynote speakers included: Sarah Baker, Head of Economics, AHDB; George Dunn, Chief Executive, Tenant Farmers Association; Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Founder and Partner, Agri Advisor; James Kane, Associate, Institute for Government; and Alex Stevens, Chief Sustainable Supply Chains Adviser, NFU.

Overall, areas for discussion included:

  • the Government’s agricultural plan: assessing developments to the Agricultural Transition Plan - what is needed from policy and key stakeholders if targets are to be achieved - future policy
  • support for farmers:
    • strategies for addressing challenges for the sector and economic growth - priorities for investment and innovation - achieving improved productivity - skills development
    • sector engagement and effective communication on policy - finance, funding and incentives - fairness and access for different farming types
  • policy coordination: alignment of agriculture with wider policy - land use, biodiversity and environment protection - decarbonisation and net zero - food security - economic development
  • diversification:
    • unlocking opportunities for new revenue streams - innovation and investment - renewable energy on farms and commercial letting
    • transitioning to long-term programmes with short-term income approaches

The conference was an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who attended from CCC; Defra; OEP; APHA; Ofwat; CMA; OEP; DAERA, NI; DESNZ; EA; NIEA; FSS; DfT; DBT; DoF, NI; HMT; Isle of Man Government; NAO; VMD; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons.

This on-demand pack includes

  • A full video recording of the conference as it took place, with all presentations, Q&A sessions, and remarks from chairs
  • An automated transcript of the conference
  • Copies of the slides used to accompany speaker presentations (subject to permission
  • Access to on-the-day materialfs, including speaker biographies, attendee lists and the agenda