Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 passes 2nd reading in Parliament

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On the 3rd February 2020, the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 received its 2nd Reading in Parliament, following its 1st Reading less than three weeks before on the 16th January.

Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 passes 2nd reading in Parliament

With the UK now having departed the EU, the pressure is on to introduce new regulatory frameworks for agriculture. Added to this the challenges arising from Climate Change and environmental concerns means that the Agriculture Bill is designed to address multiple issues. The implementation of the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 will, therefore, bring significant changes to food production across the UK. The new legislation has passed its 2nd Reading in the House of Commons and will now enter the Committee Stage with the next key milestone taking place on the 11th February 2020.

An amendment to the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 was tabled by the Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, who said the legislation 'fails to provide controls on imported agricultural goods, such as chlorinated chicken, and does not guarantee the environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards which will apply'. The amendment was voted against by 320 to 206.

The Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, The Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers opened the session with a speech outlining out how the Agriculture Bill will help safeguard the environment in England. She said it will protect the countryside, with the future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) already being trialled with farmers.

The Secretary of State said “For farmers, it will signal that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is on the way out, to be replaced by a better system of public money for public goods. I look forward to working with parliamentary colleagues to progress this Bill and write our new agricultural legislation into law,” she said. “The Bill enables us to provide financial assistance for environmentally friendly farming practices. Providing more space for biodiversity, trees and nature.”

The proposed system where farmers are rewarded with public money for public goods includes payments for cleaner air and water or improved animal welfare standards. The Agriculture Bill also seeks to boost productivity and maximise the potential of land for sustainable food production through a combination of regulations and farm support payments.

The legislation will now go to the Committee Stage, which will be followed by a report stage and then a 3rd Reading, before moving to the House of Lords for further scrutiny. A detailed examination of the Agriculture Bill will take place during the Committee Stage. ADAS will continue to watch this rapidly evolving policy environment and bring updates and insights on how the new legislation will impact upon UK agriculture and food production. The Agriculture Bill allows for new devolved powers for Northern Ireland and Wales, which may also bring their own, separate, changes.

As the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020 moves closer to becoming law, preparations will need to be made for the extensive change and opportunities created for the food and farming sector over the coming decade. The Agriculture Bill helps to address significant environmental challenges whilst aiming to reassure on issues of food production and food security as the UK sets out on its own in a post-Brexit World. The change is potentially transformative to the food and agriculture sector and a great deal of work and focus to support the transition will be required. ADAS can actively support this transition.

Colin Morgan

More information

ADAS is in a key trusted position to support all stakeholders in the drive towards compliance to the Agriculture Bill 2019-2020.  

For more information and support, contact Colin Morgan, Business Development Director at


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