Red Tractor Disruption

The NFU is calling on the European Commission to urgently address concerns that Red Tractor-approved crops will no longer be able to enter the European biofuels market, as the schemes approval expired in early August.

Some farmers are suffering severe disruption and have already reported that their collection of Red Tractor grain has been disrupted, including those destined for biofuels and other markets.

It is now critical for farmers and the supply chain that the Commission publishes its decisions on either a temporary solution or full approval.

NFU combinable crops board chairman Mike Hambly said: “It is vital for the arable industry that the European Commission recognises these concerns and provides a solution after this needless delay in re-approval.

“This is a very disruptive situation for farmers who are finding themselves unable to have their grain collected by merchants and, in some cases, having to accommodate temporary storage for this produce.

“Red Tractor has been working with the Commission since the beginning of the year, along with the industry, to seek full approval for Red Tractor crops.

“Since the Commission allowed approval to expire, NFU has taken this matter to the highest levels in DG Energy in the European Commission along with UK government and will continue to do so until a decision has been reached. I would urge the UK’s representatives in Brussels to raise this as a matter of urgency.

“The NFU is confident the Commission has no substantive reason to cause further delay. To our knowledge, there are no questions about the scheme outstanding.

“The biofuels market is an important outlet for UK arable production and the security of the market gives farmers the confidence to make investments in their business, which ultimately benefits productivity on farm.”

Assurance schemes are approved for a period of five years and every scheme must apply for reapproval. The initial application for reapproval was entered by Assured Food Standards in February 2017. The European Commission did not rule on reapproval before its expiry.

The Red Tractor scheme demonstrates and assures sustainability of British crops entering the European biofuels market and was successfully approved for the last five years from 2012.

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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.