NFU President Meurig Raymond has responded to Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove’s speech on farming subsidies.
He said: “As the Secretary of State has said, there are very good reasons to provide support for agriculture. We deliver for the wellbeing of the nation, providing a traceable, safe and affordable domestic supply of food, to some of the highest standards in the world and which the public trusts.
“We deliver for the environment – managing and maintaining 70% of the landscape, which remains feasible only as long as farmers run viable businesses.
“And we deliver for our economy, providing jobs and driving growth in rural communities. We provide the raw materials for a domestic food industry that employs 3.8m people and which, as the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, generates £109bn in value for the UK economy.
“This is why a future agricultural policy must be comprehensive in its range, comprising measures for protecting the environment, improving productivity and managing volatility.
“The NFU set out its vision for a new domestic agricultural policy in March, and we share the Secretary of State’s view that we should seek a bold and ambitious policy once we have left the EU. It is important that we see a broad and innovative range of measures to ensure farmers continue to deliver all the benefits – for our wellbeing, for our economy and for our environment – that the country enjoys.
“Such a policy needs to be comprehensive, providing support to farmers not just for environmental work, but also to manage risk and volatility, and to improve productivity and resilience among farming businesses.
“It needs to be properly resourced, maintaining current levels of public investment in UK agriculture so that the industry remains competitive. And it needs to be planned, with a sufficient implementation period to allow farmers to adjust to a new system, ensuring certainty and stability for farm businesses.”