Farming union launches post-Brexit consultation
Published:  16 August, 2016

British farmers are being provided with the chance to “shape the future” of the sector following on from the EU referendum result. 

Launched by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the ‘options paper’ is the largest consultation ‘in a generation’, with 50 meetings involving members across the country.

“The vote to leave the European Union means that food security must drive a new, bold ambition for UK farmers and growers,” said NFU president Meurig Raymond.

“This is a historic opportunity, which as NFU officeholders working on our members’ behalves, we are determined to seize.

“We’re already seeing farmers joining the NFU to participate in the biggest consultation we’ve ever held on the industry’s future. We’re expecting thousands of NFU members to grasp with both hands the opportunity to share their views. This is the chance to shape the future for our industry for all future generations of British farmers and growers.”

Essential part of the British supply chain

Raymond highlighted that the sector is worth £108 billion to the economy and is an essential part of the British supply chain. Moving forward, the president said it is important for its members to voice their opinions on what they would like an agricultural policy to look like.

“We, as farmers and growers, produce high-quality food to world-leading standards while also caring for a thriving environment,” he said. “And the British public has made it clear in survey after survey that they are hugely supportive and are fully aware of the contribution we make to the economy and the environment. On top of this, they would like to see more British food produced at home. The integrity of British produce has never been greater.”

According to Raymond, the NFU’s vision is to see a future policy that allows farming’s contribution to Britain grow. By gaining access to the latest technologies the sector will be able to compete on a global level.

“Nobody should be under any illusions that Brexit will happen in a matter of months. The process of leaving the EU and of creating a domestic agricultural policy will take time and that’s why the NFU has taken the opportunity to carry out this robust consultation. We want to ensure that when we present our vision for a new policy we can clearly demonstrate that this is what farmers and growers from all sectors and in all areas want and need.

“Brexit is about building bridges, building the industry’s influence,” he concluded. “The NFU’s aim, once our members have spoken, is to provide a strong and united voice for the food and farming industry, to ensure that agriculture is seen as strategically and politically important in all future trade negotiations.”