Agriculture

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

DateDescription
21.01.2016Agriculture: Historical Statistics
This note sets out important indicators of UK agriculture that have been published annually over this time. Together they give an indication of some of the ways that agriculture has changed in response to events over the last 100 years or more including the two world wars, the depression of the 1930s, the post-war boom and entry into the European Community. These long runs of data also give some historical context to more recent changes in agriculture including the dramatic fall in prices and farm incomes in the late 1990s, BSE and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.
20.01.2016Dairy industry in the UK: Statistics
Key statistics and current trends for the UK dairy industry, including farm-gate prices, UK herd size, production, international trade and domestic consumption.
04.12.2015Bees and Neonicotinoids
The use of three neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) have been subject to a 2 year precautionary ban in the EU since December 2013. This is based on concerns that they are causing sub-lethal, harmful impacts on bees. In July 2015, the UK Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of restricted neonicotinoids on oil seed rape seeds after an application from the National Farmers' Union. This applies for a time-limited period in four English counties and does not affect the overall ban
16.11.2015Social Indicators 2015
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
12.11.2015Agricultural incomes and subsidies: Social Indicators page
Agricultural incomes and subsidies: Social Indicators page. By Yago Zayed. SN/SG/2613.
12.11.2015Agriculture 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.
15.09.2015The problem of fly-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.
08.09.2015Badgers: Controlled shooting culls
Controlled shooting of badgers has been trialed in Gloucestershire and Somerset for two years. In 2015 the cull has been extended to a third area in Dorset.
09.06.2015EU exit: impact in key UK policy areas
If the UK left the EU, would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal. In some areas, the environment, for example, where the UK is bound by other international agreements, much of the content of EU law would probably remain. In others, the government might decide to retain the substance of EU law, or to remove EU obligations from UK statutes. Much would also depend on whether the UK sought to remain in the European Economic Area and therefore continue to have access to the single market, or preferred to go it alone and negotiate bilateral agreements with the EU. This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change be if the UK left the EU.
19.05.2015Key Issues for the 2015 Parliament
This book examines the key issues facing the House of Commons over the course of the 2015 Parliament - from the public finances to the UK's membership of the EU and from school places for children to climate change.

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
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

POSTnotes

DateDescription
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

DateDescription
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

DateDescription
07.09.2011TENANT FARMERS AND THE UPLANDS ENTRY LEVEL SCHEME
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 ...
09.06.2011E. COLI OUTBREAK IN EUROPE AND THE UK CUCUMBER INDUSTRY
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 ...
01.04.2011GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY
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 ...
10.03.2011DAIRY FARMERS AND THE NATIONAL FARMERS UNION STANDARD MILK CONTRACT
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 ...
10.03.2011REGULATION OF SUPER FARMS
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 ...

Glossary

  • 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