The Evolution of Agriculture and Agricultural Policy in the UK and US
A new paradigm has emerged in the UK and US in which agriculture and its place in the rural landscape is being reframed. The discourse has transitioned from agriculture viewed almost solely as a provider of food for domestic consumption and international trade, to agriculture as part of the rural landscape with broader roles and responsibilities than previously ascribed. These may range from maintaining environmental integrity in a managed ecosystem, to ensuring open space in a countryside threatened by development, to contributing to human health and to the richness of heritage and culture. Agricultural policy is beginning to refl ect this perspective in the UK and US, although funding to support conventional farm programmes continues to dominate. This chapter explores the reframing of agriculture’s place in the rural landscape, and how policy is adapting to meet new perceptions of its roles and responsibilities. The chapter explores recent transformations in the structure of agriculture, drivers of change and the responsiveness of rural and agricultural policy in the UK and US.