NFU responds to EU Council conclusions on Brexit negotiations

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “With less than a year and a half until our departure from the EU, farmers and growers are fast running out of patience with both parties over the Article 50 negotiations. The time has come for both the UK and EU governments to acknowledge that businesses and individuals across Europe will suffer if a deal securing an ongoing and closely-integrated economic relationship is not reached.

“Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector food and drink, an industry worth £109 billion. A no deal – in terms of a transition period or the long-term future relationship – would have severe affects for UK farmers and growers. With the vast majority of our exported farmed produce going to the EU any impacts on food production and farming would have severe knock on effects to the entire food supply chain, and ultimately the public.

“Furthermore our access to a competent and reliable workforce, with many of our colleagues in the food and farming sector coming from the EU, would be severely curtailed. Many farm sectors are already struggling to fill job vacancies in the wake of the referendum vote, and further reduction in people available would see a corresponding reduction in investment in the industry, at a time when we are at one with the Government’s desire to see growth in both productivity and output in our sector.

“Perhaps there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel with the announcement that preparations for negotiations to move to the future relationship will now commence. However, we are under no illusion that this falls short of a decision to actually move the negotiations on.

“Negotiators must now show determination and recognise the urgency of acting consensually and considerately in reaching a Brexit settlement that works for farmers, the wider economy and the public.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.