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Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on agriculture. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

02.11.2016Agriculture in the home countries: Social Indicators page
Agriculture in the home countries: Social Indicators page providing summary statistics on agriculture in the countries of the UK from the annual June farm surveys.
27.10.2016Grouse shooting
Grouse shooting takes place on moorlands managed for the birds. The Government believes that grouse shooting makes a significant economic, social and environmental contribution. However, others are concerned that grouse moor management is leading to environmental damage and the illegal killing of birds of prey. Two public petitions have been launched on this matter, on both sides of the argument. The Petitions Committee took evidence from witnesses on 18 October 2016, and a debate is scheduled for 31 October 2016.
14.10.2016Agricultural incomes and subsidies in the UK: Social Indicators page
Agricultural incomes and subsidies in the UK: Social Indicators page.
31.08.2016Badgers: Culls in England
The UK Government is committed to eradicating bovine TB and takes the view that badger culling in areas with high incidence of TB in cattle in England is an effective part of this strategy. Controlled shooting of badgers was trialed in Gloucestershire and Somerset in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, a badger cull continued in these two areas and was extended to a third area in Dorset. The Government has announced that badger control will take place over a wider number of areas in England in 2016. However, badger culling as a means of controlling TB in cattle remains a contentious policy.
26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
13.07.2016Sources of social statistics: Agriculture and Fisheries
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on agriculture and fisheries.
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics 2016
This briefing paper brings together sources of statistics on subject areas covered by the Economic Policy & Statistics and Social & General Statistics sections of the House of Commons Library. In doing so it draws upon the knowledge of Library specialists, aiming to provide comprehensive topic-by-topic guides for use by anyone interested in the statistical series that underpin the United Kingdom.
26.05.2016EU Referendum: Impact on UK agriculture policy
Most farming organisations are taking a 'remain' or neutral position ahead of the EU Referendum on the grounds that there is too much uncertainty around a potential UK approach to farming outside the EU and its Common Agricultural Policy. However, others are starting to set out what a new approach to UK agriculture, outside the EU, might look like.
09.05.2016Fly-tipping - the illegal dumping of waste
This Commons Library briefing paper gives a general overview of the extent of the problem of fly-tipping and the powers and responsibilities of the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deal with it. In 2013/14 there was a significant increase in reported cases of fly-tipping across England and incidents increased again in 2014/15.
19.04.2016UK Dairy Industry: Current Issues and Challenges
UK dairy farmers continue to highlight their financial difficulties with government as low milk prices remain. Policy action has been taken at EU and UK level to assist and the dairy industry is also seeking to improve its ability to weather future volatility in global markets.

Lords Library Notes

22.04.2016Rural Economy: Key Statistics and Recent Developments
This Lords Library briefing provides key statistics on the rural economy and a summary recent developments.
05.10.2010Debate on 7 October 2010: the Prince's Countryside Fund and support for rural communities. LLN 2010/021
Debate on 7 October 2010: the Prince's Countryside Fund and support for rural communities. House of Lords Library Note 2010/021


19.01.2016Intellectual Property and Plants
This POSTnote considers the different intellectual property rights approaches available to plant breeders.
21.09.2015Precision Farming
Precision farming uses technology to improve efficiency. It offers benefits for yields, profits and the environment. However, uptake by farmers has been slow. This POSTnote describes precision farming methods, adoption and factors influencing it, and future practices.
24.08.2015Securing UK Soil Health
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around 1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.
20.01.2015Emissions from Crops
Agriculture contributes 9% of the UK's greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions burden and 10-12% globally. Although there is a long-term declining trend from UK agriculture, the sector may account for a larger share of overall emissions in the future as other sectors reduce emissions. This POSTnote focuses on reducing GHG emissions from growing and storing arable and horticultural crops.
11.12.2014Catchment-Wide Flood Management
Changing weather patterns have made structural defences less effective at managing flooding. An approach that employs a range of natural flood management measures across a river catchment is likely to reduce the probability of flooding and pressure on structural defences. This POSTnote describes the measures and the challenges of implementing them over large catchments.
30.10.2014GM Crops and Regulation
This note summarises the evidence on environmental and health impacts of GM crops, describes recent technological developments and examines their likely consequences for proposed reforms of GM regulation

Select Committee Reports

19.07.2011Welfare of laying hens directive - implications for the egg industry.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
13.07.2011EU proposals for the dairy industry.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
09.02.2011Farming in the uplands.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
21.07.2010Dairy Farmers of Britain.
Government response. Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
10.03.2010Dairy Farmers of Britain.
Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House notes the importance of upland farming to UK agriculture, the rural economy, countryside access and the UK's landscape heritage, but acknowledges the very low incomes ...
That this House notes that no one has caught E. coli from any cucumbers produced in the UK; is deeply concerned for the growers and food businesses in the Lee Valley and across Britain ...
That this House notes the Government's commitment to spending 11.1 billion towards ensuring global food security and to stimulate sustainable agricultural development at the 2009 L'Aquila ...
That this House notes that dairy farmers in Morecambe and Lunesdale and across the UK are in many cases falling foul of unreasonable contracts; further notes that legislation is in ...
That this House notes that so called super farms should be licensed by the Government; and considers that in order to prevent the decimation of the farming community such farms should ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses