The British agricultural sector is either already in or rapidly approaching some sort of crisis. Two features are particularly significant in the political response to the current situation. First, there is an increasingly neoliberal approach to agricultural policy. Sec end, agricultural policy per se is being subsumed with wider rural policies. In this paper we question the rationality of both these trends, both theoretically through 'new wave regulation theory' and by relating the British situation to the recent experiences of the agricultural sectors in Australia and New Zealand.