The National Farmers' Union is set to launch farming’s most significant consultation with Ribble Valley farmers over the impact of Brexit on agriculture and what a domestic farming policy should look like in the future outside the EU.
At the recent extraordinary council meeting the NFU President Meurig Raymond said the Government must not ignore the economic importance of the farming sector as it is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry, food and drink, worth £108billion employing 3.9million people.
David Raine, who is the NFU chairman, said: “Politicians now have a responsibility to protect agriculture. They need to listen to farmers so we can all create a sound agricultural policy that ultimately produces Great British food that consumers have come to expect. Farmers need access to as many markets as possible in order to build a future that the next generation can build stable and profitable businesses in.
“I think it’s useful that we currently have a period of reflection on both sides. European leaders need to digest what has happened and take a pragmatic view of how to move forward. The complexity of negotiations should not be under estimated for agriculture in particular, although this is also true for many other industries. It’s important our politicians don’t disenfranchise those who voted to remain within the EU and those who did not vote at all. We need to find a way that brings all sides of the debate together for the common good.”
At the recent Skelton Show, David spent time with Penrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart, explaining that although there are lots of uncertainties for farming – trade agreements, labour, financial support, legislation are all up in the air – the NFU is committed to providing this industry with leadership. Mr Raine intends to meet more of the county’s MPs during this and next month.
NFU President, Meurig Raymond, said: “NFU Council has agreed the principles of a domestic farming policy which will now form the basis of the biggest farming consultation in England and Wales for a generation.
“I urge all NFU members to get involved over the coming months and that non-members should join the NFU to ensure their voice is heard. With this consultation, we can be sure that the policy we push for will have the backing of the farming sector at large.
“The contribution of this country’s farming and food industry to the economy and to food security should be taken extremely seriously by the UK government. We need a policy that ensures a profitable, productive and sustainable future for British farming. The NFU’s influence is paramount in this.”