A revolutionary UK policy to recognise and reward farmers for their land management, rather than profitability, has parallels with proposals from Australia’s National Soils Advocate.

The scheme, unveiled by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May on January 11th, focuses on preserving and enhancing the natural capital of farmland, and would come into effect post-Brexit.

Australia’s National Soils Advocate and founder of Soils for Life, Major General Michael Jeffery, said the scheme had strong messages for Australian land managers and policy makers.

“The UK has, quite rightly, decided that the Common Agricultural Policy, or CAP, is fundamentally flawed, in that it does not place sufficient attention on regenerating the health of the European agricultural landscape”, General Jeffery said.

“Instead, agricultural support from the government will be based on rewarding farmers who deliver environmental enhancements, and includes measures to protect water and reduce inorganic fertiliser use”.

“Australia now has the opportunity to adopt similar principles devoted to improving food quality, public health, soil health and farmer wellbeing”.

“Forward thinking Australian farmers and land managers close to urban areas are increasingly moving towards regenerative practices, with an eye to ensuring sustainable food and fibre production in the future”.

“The UK system involves public funding, but Soils for Life case studies show similar regenerative practices applied by Australian farmers have led to considerable and even dramatic increases in production and profitability”.

“Our Government should examine the UK principles under the new post-Brexit scheme and, where appropriate, adopt similar principles devoted to improving food quality, public health, soil health and biodiversity”

”The Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon Michael Gove, told the Oxford Farming Conference earlier this month that decades of damage to the UK landscape was estimated to cost £1.2 billion every year (Gove Oxford Farming)”.

“The cost of similar degradation to much of the Australian landscape would also be  substantial”. 

General Jeffery urged the Government to look closely at the ‘Green Brexit’ farming scheme, when considering his recently submitted policy proposals for the regeneration of the Australian agricultural landscape.

For further information, contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils for Life: 0418625595


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