TFA argues for post Brexit policy consensus

The Tenant Farmers Association is calling for a concerted effort to build a new consensus for a post Brexit food, farming and environmental policy for the UK.

TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said “It is the arena of agricultural and environmental policy which will see the largest change on leaving the European Union and there is much to play for. The interests of the farming community, environmental groups, consumers, those involved in the health agenda and experts on our place within the world on trade, aid and development must come together to establish a new, post-Brexit policy agreement. We must understand the full extent of the failure existing within agricultural markets and how this can be addressed to ensure sustainable production, food security and high environmental outputs”.

The TFA believes that achieving success in building this new consensus would be significantly assisted if a Cabinet Office appointed Commission was established to draw together the views of all relevant stakeholders to make binding recommendations to Government in much the same way as the Commission led by Lord Curry (then Sir Don Curry) in the aftermath of Foot and Mouth Disease.

“We must have a policy framework that will last and which will not be subject to the winds of short-term political change and no one organisation or political party has the ability to achieve that on its own,” said Mr Wyrill.

“We must not just look at what might replace the Common Agricultural Policy but consider the full landscape of policies and practices which affect the management of agricultural land. This will include how production standards are developed and enforced, the operation of markets, taxation, tenancy law, risk management tools, environmental and planning regulation, support for research and development including technology transfer and access to land for new entrants, progressing farmers whilst allowing dignified routes for retirement for older farmers,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The majority of farmers aspire and strive to farm to balance the long-term sustainability of their operations economically, environmentally and socially. However with low average and volatile returns to primary producers, this becomes immensely difficult to achieve and we need policy mechanisms which can help,” said Mr Wyrill.

“The biggest risk to making a success of our EU departure is a lack of ambition in making maximum use of the flexibility that leaving will provide for Britain. We must grab the opportunity that we have been given with both hands,” said Mr Wyrill.

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