My family have farmed in West Cornwall for six generations. The names of fields were passed from each generation to the next.
We knew our land and how best to manage it.
I understand the responsibility that farmers feel to the hard work of previous generations and their commitment to the future.
On Monday we are launching our agricultural transition plan outlining a fairer deal for farmers now we are outside the EU, and our path to sustainable farming.
This is the biggest change in agricultural policy in half a century, and we want to make sure that the policy we design is right for the farmers of today and tomorrow, which is why during this period we will work closely with the sector to co-design new policies.
Under the EU’s bureaucratic and unfair Common Agricultural Policy, the largest subsidy payments went to the wealthiest land owners – artificially inflating land rents and standing in the way of new entrants accessing land.
The new system will put in place a fairer system that is centred around support that rewards farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices, helps them to improve productivity, and puts an end to the dysfunctional, top-down rules and draconian penalties that were a feature of the EU era.
There will be a more modern approach to regulation and a greater emphasis on advice and improvement.
I am confident that the changes set out today will also help us reverse the loss of much of our wildlife-rich habitat and the long-term decline of certain species.
Many farmers feel the impacts of this keenly and are taking measures to turn it around.
Now we have a chance to rediscover some of the techniques that my great-grandfather might have deployed, and fuse them with the best precision technology and plant science available to us today.
Our plans for the future of farming must also help us tackle climate change.
Our new Environmental Land Management scheme will support farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices in a range of different ways, from helping to create new habitats for nature recovery and improving soil health and water quality, to restoring wilder landscapes – all of which will help us meet our ambitious national targets and commitments, including the government’s pledge to protect 30 per cent of UK land by 2030.
We will support farmers to produce high quality food more sustainably, and improve transparency in the supply chain to help strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.
We will also help farmers reduce their costs and improve productivity, helping those who want to retire or leave the industry to do so with dignity, and creating new opportunities and support for new entrants coming into the industry.
To make sure that farmers have the time to adapt and plan for the future, changes will come through gradually over a period of seven years.
This will be an evolution from the old system to the new, not an overnight revolution, investing the money released from winding down legacy payments into a broad range of new schemes that will benefit both our farmers and the environment.
Rather than the prescriptive, top-down rules of the Common Agricultural Policy, we want to support the choices that farmers and land managers take on their holdings, working with them to refine and develop the schemes.
If we work together to get this right, then in the years to come, the rest of the world will want to follow our lead.