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Lords Committee to quiz UK farming minister and USDA chief economist on agricultural resilience


The House of Lords EU Committee on Energy and Environment will next week take evidence from George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, followed by evidence via videolink from Rob Johansson, Chief Economist at the United States Department of Agriculture.

In the session with George Eustice the Committee will question the Minister on whether the Government should do more to respond to low commodity prices and price volatility in agriculture, whether the Government will take up the opportunity of the new EU initiative to give UK farmers access to cheaper loans through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Rural Development Programme and what changes to the CAP the Government would like to see in the next round of reforms.

The evidence session with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will highlight the differences in the EU and US approach to supporting agriculture. The EU's CAP continues to focus on include Direct Payments to farmers, while the ‘Farm Bill' - introduced in the US in 2014 - changed policy in America so that financial support for farmers was tied to annual or multiyear fluctuations in price, yield or revenues. The ‘Farm Bill' also introduced a much larger role for insurance mechanisms to help farmers manage risk and price volatility of their produce.

The evidence sessions will start at 11:00am on Wednesday 10 February in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords. The full witness details are:

11:00am:

  • George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment
  • Tim Morden, Deputy Director for Farming Productivity, DEFRA
  • Ian Mitchell, Deputy Director for International and Strategy Analysis, DEFRA

12:00noon:

  • Rob Johansson, Chief Economist, United States Department of Agriculture (via videolink)

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