The Tenant Farmers Association today met with DEFRA Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom to discuss plans for a post Brexit food, agriculture and environmental policy.
TFA National Chairman Stephen Wyrill said “The TFA developed it’s ideas for a post EU farming policy for Britain in the months leading up to the Referendum in June which has enabled us to hit the ground running since the country voted to leave the EU. In our discussions with other farming, environmental and consumer organisations there is a growing consensus that once the UK abandons the Common Agricultural Policy we need to have a replacement policy to ensure we have a resilient agricultural industry capable of feeding people today and in the future to the highest standards of environmental management, animal welfare and consumer protection. To do so we need to continue our public investment to ensure the production of public goods that the market will never deliver itself whilst at the same time correcting for some serious and ingrained market failures which prevent the market operating sustainability”.
“We told the Secretary of State that the biggest risk was not taking full advantage of all of the flexibilities afforded to the UK once it leaves the European Union. We assured the Secretary of State that we would work positively with her, other Government colleagues and civil servants in developing and implementing a post Brexit plan for food, farming and the environment,” said Mr Wyrill.
The TFA is pushing for a new, three pillar agricultural policy to replace the Common Agricultural Policy when we leave the EU. The first pillar would provide a comprehensive reward structure for active farmers delivering high standards of environmental management based on outcomes. The second pillar will encourage farmers to draw up and implement five year resilience plans and allowing them to access grant funding for infrastructural and other capital investment needed to make those plans a success. The third pillar is a properly funded marketing and promotion arm along with a clear strategy for public investment in near market, research, development and technology transfer.
“We told the Secretary of State that this must go hand in hand with a range of other measures including improvements to the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, requiring public food procurement to favour British food, requiring that all the food sold through retail and food service outlets should meet Red Tractor standards, developing a new framework for ensuring the sustainable development of upland areas and importantly, reforms to farm tenancies to create longer average lengths of tenancy term,” said Mr Wyrill.