Sustainable farming policy
Covering three-quarters of UK land, how and what we farm has a huge impact on the environment and wildlife, on the economy of rural communities and on our health.
We need a sustainable farm system that provides healthy food grown to high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection. Farming must be able to provide good jobs and livelihoods in food production, supported by a fair supply chain. Farming and land management must also play their part in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause dangerous climate change.
Picture by Vicki Hird
Examples of good policy and practice exist. The organic farm sector is thriving, some agri-environment schemes that protect farm wildlife and natural resources are working well and some local supply initiatives are ensuring farmers gain a better share of the food pound.
Yet government policies still largely encourage harmful production systems and many farmers and farm workers are struggling to make a decent living. Policy is failing to protect farmers from unfair trading practices of big players in the supply chain, such as supermarkets. Our health, soils, bees and smaller farmers are in trouble, and changes in policy and public investment could do much more to help, for the benefit of everyone.
Being in the European Union has meant UK farm policy was largely designed under the framework of a European Common Agricultural Policy. Brexit means that the UK must now take control of how it supports and sets standards for farming. The UK’s approach to international trade deals will also have big implications for farmers, at home and abroad.
Food standards weakened as government takes lopsided approach to trade, finds new report
Expert coalition urges ministers to abandon ‘behind closed doors’ trade policy and include public health and green voices on its trade...
Practical solutions for going no-tillage in organic horticulture - soil health ideas for growers
A key challenge for organic cropping systems with regards to soil health is finding ways to move from tillage to no-till. Sustain takes a look at an...
The US eyes carbon credits for farmers as a tool to tackle climate change
With the likely confirmation of a Joe Biden and Kamala Harris presidency, we can all sigh a relief that tackling climate change should be back on the...
Boris Johnson's 10-point plan for climate change - where is food?
Sustain's response to the Prime Minister's new plan to tackle climate change
We have an Agriculture Act – but let’s not relax now
Head of Sustainable Farming Vicki Hird reflects on several years of hard work to win a better approach to UK farm policy, but warns that the hard...
Support our campaign
Your donation will help us work with farmers to push for policies to support farming fit for our future.