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Defra receives more than 44,000 comments on future farming proposals

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More than 44,000 responses have been received on the Government’s proposals for the future for food, farming and the environment after Brexit.

FUTURE FARMING: The consultation ended earlier this week

In the last week of the ‘Health & Harmony’ consultation, which ended on May 8, nearly 20,000 responses were submitted to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Farmers, food producers and environmentalists shared their views on the proposals, which cover issues ranging from the support Government give to farmers and food producers to the broader direction of policy post-Brexit when it comes to the natural world.

Throughout the 10-week consultation, Defra hosted 17 events across the country alongside groups including the National Trust, NFU and the Eden Project, to hear first-hand from more than 1,250 representatives of the UK’s food and farming sectors.

The Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “It’s great news that so many people have responded so enthusiastically to our consultation.

“Leaving the European Union gives us the opportunity to improve the support we give to Britain’s farmers. We can make farming more productive, improve the quality of the food we eat and enhance our natural environment.

“We’ll reflect on the many thoughtful ideas put forward in response to our consultation and bring forward our plans for legislation later this year.”

The consultation included proposals to redirect payments under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which are based on the amount of land farmed, to a new system of paying farmers public money for public goods, principally their work to enhance the environment. It highlighted a number of public goods that could be supported, such as biodiversity, high animal welfare standards and improved soil health.

According to Defra, responses to the consultation will now be analysed carefully and the Government will publish a response shortly.

The NFU campaigned to make people more aware of the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity. At the end of April, it hosted a photo call to remind farmers and those involved in the food system that there were just two weeks left to put in their comments on the consultation.