Have you ever thought about what the agriculture sector might be like in 2040?

DEFRA is developing a 25-year industry-led farming plan with the aim to deliver a more competitive and profitable agriculture sector. The goal is to grow more, buy more and sell more British food in the long-term. In this article we look at DEFRAs 25-year plan and what it could mean for the agriculture sector.

The 25-year plan

25-year Great British Food and Farming Plan is expected to be published next year

Earlier in the year over 80 leading representatives from the agricultural sector attended the DEFRA launch of the development process for DEFRAs 25-year Great British Food and Farming Plan. The representatives met to “discuss ways to ensure a bright future for food and farming, including developing a British brand, boosting food and drink exports, encouraging entrepreneurship, attracting investment and ensuring the industry has the right skills.”

Six months on from that initial development launch and DEFRA is now consulting regional agricultural businesses and stakeholders about their ideas for the 25 year plan going forward.

The full details of DEFRAs 25-year plan is expected to be published next year, following ongoing consultations.

What is the 25-year plan consulting on?

There are 7 key themes that DEFRA and industry leaders are looking at, including:

  • Strengthening the British brand
  • Increasing British exports
  • Breaking down barriers to trade
  • Increase use of British food in schools and hospitals
  • Increase inward investment into British farming
  • Boost skills and apprenticeships
  • Increase productivity through innovation

Commenting on the 25-year Great British Food and Farming Plan Martin Wilmott, Partner at Hawsons, said: “It is good to see DEFRA and leading industry representatives consult on the key challenges facing the agricultural sector both now and over the next 25 years. Creating a strong vision for the future for British food and farming businesses, making the UK agricultural sector more sustainable amidst growing economic, environmental and global pressures, is extremely important.”

An uncertain present, but sustainable future?

Martin added: “Although many farmers are facing an uncertain present, the future of farming must enable a sustainable food supply to meet the demands of a growing population.”

“I would also, however, echo the recent comments from Kerry McCarthy (Shadow DEFRA Secretary) that the 25-year plan must go beyond purely economic-related factors. The development and consultation of the 25-year Great British Food and Farming Plan gives the sector an opportunity to create an ongoing strategy to address low pay, reduce carbon emissions, become more energy efficient and reverse the worrying decline in biodiversity and wildlife.”

“Harnessing technology – such as precision farming – is undoubtedly going to be a key focus in meeting all of these key farming challenges. What will the smart farm of the future look like? That is a question that will be answered in the years to come…but, what is for sure is that technology is going to revolutionise farming as we see it today.”

“It will certainly be interesting to see the full details of DEFRAs 25-year plan when it’s published next year.”

More from our agriculture experts

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Martin Wilmott is a partner at Hawsons

Martin Wilmott acts as lead engagement partner for a wide range of corporate and non-corporate clients in the Doncaster office, especially in the Legal and professional, agricultural, transport, property and construction, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality sectors. For more information or advice on anything covered in this article please contact Martin on [email protected] or 01302 367 262.