Country Trust Amendment to the Agriculture Bill is debated in the House of Lords

We were thrilled that our amendment to the Agriculture Bill was finally brought to the House of Lords on July 9th by Lord Curry, and enthusiastically backed by 19 peers. We share Lord Curry’s determination to see that the Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM) does, indeed, provide support to as many farmers as possible to enable them to host educational visits for children (you can help by sending a letter to your MP):

“I am grateful for the endorsement of the importance of education and of the educational experience of schoolchildren. I absolutely agree with what he (The Minister) said of his experience of that: it is life-changing for schoolchildren, as he described, to experience running through crops and to experience how milk is produced. I stress to him that this support is provided at all levels within the ELM scheme. It is essential that we maximise the benefits available through farms that are willing to host school visits.”

You can listen to the whole debate here (Lord Curry opens the session at 13.48).

Or enjoy some highlights of the wonderful support that the amendment received in the Lords:

Lord Cormack emphasised the necessity of farming on school curriculums, “We need to try to ensure that there is a place on every syllabus, in every school, for some acquaintance with farming—perhaps by visiting, perhaps by welcoming speakers from the NFU and elsewhere into the schools.”

The Earl of Shrewsbury concurred that, “Education is key to producing future generations of efficient farmers and land managers. While there are excellent world-class agricultural education facilities in this country…It is vitally important that we have a world-class agricultural education system for this multifaceted agricultural industry.”

Lord Cameron of Dillington voiced the importance of connecting inner-city and minority ethnic groups with the countryside, “It is vital that people from all backgrounds, especially inner cities and the BAME communities, are helped to make that all-important personal connection to our wonderful countryside in a way that is more meaningful than sitting and watching it on telly. It is vital that both the joys and hardships of rural life are understood by as many people as possible.”

Lord Lucas agreed that welcoming people to the countryside and providing high quality educational opportunities is essential, “It has been very evident to me, since I moved out from a long career in London to live on the south coast, that even here, where we are surrounded by the most magnificent countryside, there are many people who are not connected to it. It is not enough just to provide opportunities; we have to invite people into the countryside by providing them with really good educational opportunities, particularly aimed at schoolchildren but for adults too. To my mind, that is a vital part of the strategy that underlies this Bill.”

Finally, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb noted the role of education in the fight against climate change, “A direct experience of land, farming and wilderness is hugely important to understanding our place as human beings in the world and the impact that we are having on the environment and on our climate. As we begin to make the transition to a more sustainable, ecologically sound society with net-zero carbon emissions, public education is more important than ever.”

We would also like to thank the following Members for their endorsement:

Baroness Bakewell Of Hardington Mandeville

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering

Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick

Baroness Rock

Lord Adonis

Lord Cameron of Dillington

Lord Carrington

Lord Clark of Windermere

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Lord Granchester

Lord Greaves

Lord Holmes of Richmond

Lord Krebs

Lord Lucas

Lord Mann

Lord Naseby

The Earl of Caithness

The Earl of Devon

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