Farming and Landowning Organisations from across the UK met in London to discuss the implications of Brexit and the General Election for the future of their sector 19 April. The “Farming Brexit Roundtable”, chaired by NFU Deputy President Minette Batters, uniquely draws together organisations from all parts of the UK and all sectors and was set up to share concerns and promote collective action over Brexit.
The meeting concluded that:
“Farmers across the UK would welcome the cooperative spirit expressed around the table today. Every organisation wants to see our political parties recognise the importance of farming to the economy and the country. We want the parties to set clear policies that work for farm businesses, giving us certainty during the Brexit negotiations, but vitally well beyond the point at which the UK leaves the European Union.
“Our organisations welcome the commitment to honour EU payments until 2020, but farming is a long term business. Frankly the value of the assurance, given in August 2016, diminishes with each passing day. Farm businesses need to know the long term plans of our political parties over the next decade, not just the next two years. So we urge all parties to make their plans clear in their respective manifestos to give farmers the stability required to instil confidence for the future.
“We also considered the trading relationship in which farming will find itself post Brexit. It’s clear that there is a pressing need to secure continuing access to the European Union market place as a priority. The vast majority of food exports are to the EU, lamb and cereals being good examples. So every sector needs there to be free and frictionless trade with the EU to thrive long term, or face economic calamity of over-supplied domestic markets. Again whatever the final outcome the next Government must secure a phased transition to the new trading arrangements”.
The Farming Brexit Roundtable will continue to meet regularly during the course of the Brexit negotiations. The organisations attending the meeting were:
Country Land and Business Association
British Poultry Council
National Beef Association
National Farmers Union
NFU Scotland National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs
National Pig Association
Royal Association British Dairy Farmers
Scottish Land and Estates
Tenant Farmers Association