Union maps out its strategy following Brexit vote

On behalf of Scotland’s farmers and crofters, NFU Scotland has given its commitment to put a profitable and productive sector at the core of its negotiations on Britain’s exit from Europe and the CAP.

The Union remains clear that while the outcome of the vote brings a period of significant uncertainty, it also presents an opportunity to negotiate the best possible deal to support our farming and food sectors.

In the few short days since the outcome of the vote, the Union has met with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing to discuss Brexit, ahead of the Scottish Government resilience and cabinet meetings that were held last weekend. It has also used its Brussels office to reach out to the European Commission and other European farming unions. In addition, it has written to Defra Secretary of State, Liz Truss about what must be done now to ensure that we build a strong, vibrant and thriving farming sector.

Information has been issued to its membership on the mostly likely timeline for the UK to leave the EU and clarified that existing CAP direct payments will not change this scheme year or next scheme year.

In the coming days, the Union will finalise a list of the commitments it is seeking from the UK and Scottish Governments. These will provide an anchor of security in uncertain times and ensure that the outcome of this decision results in a profitable and competitive agricultural industry in Scotland.

It is writing to retailers demanding that they support Scottish agriculture during this turbulent time and put in place the proper trading relationship to deliver a fair share of the risks and rewards in the supply chain back to the farmgate.

At a political level, it will maintain regular contact with the UK and Scottish Governments, as well as opposition parties, ensuring Scotland’s concerns and interests are heard in Europe, via its permanent staff in Brussels.

It will engage with the supply trade to understand how Brexit may impact on key farm inputs and what agri-suppliers believe is needed to ensure a thriving supply chain to support Scottish agriculture. It is also pulling together information to better understand the best possible trading options, including wider trade deals, that would be in the best interest of Scottish farmers and crofters.

Information will be regularly published on the Union’s website, including a Q&A which will be regularly updated with the common questions asked by its members.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “No sector is more directly affected by the outcome of the vote than farming. While these are uncertain times, we must make the most of any opportunity that Brexit marks for Scottish agriculture.

“Our focus will very firmly be on ensuring that the negotiated exit from the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy, as well as the domestic arrangements that replace them, will result in a profitable and competitive agricultural industry in Scotland. We want to see a Scottish farming sector that is growing in output and properly valued by existing and new customers for our produce.

“Farming and crofting are at the core of rural Scotland and the rural economy. NFU Scotland is fully committed to working in the best interests of all farmers and crofters as new arrangements are put in place for our trading relationship with Europe and the rest of the world and when future domestic support arrangements are being settled.

“We have an officeholder team and a dedicated policy team who have the clout and resources to ensure that farmers and crofters voices are heard and we will be doing our utmost in the weeks, months and years ahead to protect and promote our members’ interests as the terms of Brexit become clear.” Ends


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