Farming unions call for ‘well-managed’ Brexit - Thorne Widgery

The UK’s four farming unions have called on the Government to get behind farmers and the high quality, affordable food they produce as the UK moves to the next phase of Brexit negotiations.

In a joint statement, the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Ulster Farmers’ Union, NFU Scotland and NFU Cymru said that a well-managed Brexit must “herald an agricultural revolution”.

The statement went on to say that farmers must be enabled to continue to deliver high quality, safe, affordable and responsibly produced food for all UK consumers, whatever their income.

As the union leaders pointed out, the UK’s farming and food sector has some of the best standards of food safety, animal welfare and traceability in the world. Brexit should celebrate these standards and new third-country trade agreements must not undermine them.

As well as food production, farmers manage 70 per cent of the land in the UK. This means that farmers’ efforts to manage the environment are critical, with healthy soils, clean water and managed landscapes being both the result and underpinning of sustainable food production.

The union leaders underlined that it is essential for farmers to maintain “frictionless access to European markets”. Furthermore, they said that replacing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with domestic farm policy measures alone will be insufficient to see farming thrive.

They were adamant that they need to work with all parts of the UK Government to deliver a comprehensive approach for the sector, which covers the delivery of fair trade deals, continued access to labour and improved application of new technology.

The statement concluded by saying that farmers need to be equal partners in the supply chain so it is fair and equitable for all after Brexit. If the right policy is achieved, then farms across the UK can be more profitable, productive and progressive.