Sustain response to Michael Gove Speech at National Farmers Union Conference

As Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove outlines his new approach to farm policy Vicki Hird, Farming Coordinator at Sustain, says 

“It is still wait and see on the detail but we welcome Michael Gove’s agreement with us that public support should be used for benefits that the market can’t pay for. That should mean targeting payments carefully to ensure farm diversity as well as the natural environment, animal welfare and public health outcomes. 

We absolutely agree there is an urgent need to integrate farm and food policy with helping people “adopt a healthier diet”. Getting sustainable healthier local food into publicly procured meals in schools and hospitals is key.

But he should also be ensuring that the market pays its way with decent treatment of farmers and workers in the supply chain. Last week Michael Gove alongside colleagues in BEIS opted not to extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and in doing so has left millions of farmers in the UK and overseas exposed to unfair buying practices like last minute cancellations of orders and unexplained deductions from invoices.

Workers too should not be seen just as a problem but as an asset that should be rewarded and nurtured in farming.  

So the new Agriculture Bill should include powers to deliver public goods but also secure worker protection and that farmers get fair treatment in the supply chain. 

The public debate is yet to come in the consultation ahead. This will no doubt show what the public consider are valuable benefits. We hope Gove listens and hears from a broad persective as possible.”


Gove speech to NFU Tuesday 20 February 2018

Food and Farming Policy


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Food and Farming Policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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