2017 - a unique opportunity for a new deal for farming
31st Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver
In his New Year message, NFU president Meurig Raymond said 2017 offered a unique opportunity to present a new deal for farming, following a 'tumultuous' 2016.
Mr Raymond said 2016 had seen continued extremes in market returns for many sectors, leaving family businesses staring over a precipice one moment to be replaced by recovering prices the next.
"Alongside the economic realities, the historic EU Referendum looks likely to be a game changer for many as over 40 years of European policy is replaced by farm policy controlled at a UK level.
"While the theme of 2016 has been one of growing uncertainty, for the sake of farming, 2017 must provide greater certainty and confidence and I’ll be looking to the Government, as farmers look to the NFU, to provide this.
“It would have been impossible for the Prime Minister, Defra and Government’s Brexit teams to ignore the largest-ever coalition of UK food producers led by the NFU and other UK farming unions.
"Together, we called for tariff-free access to the single market and continued access to a competent and reliable workforce. This is paramount for British food and farming to flourish, post-Brexit.
"Since then we’ve seen the CBI call that the Government achieves a Brexit that works for the whole economy using farming and finance as examples.
“Despite the uncertainty for farms I am pleased to say that public support for British farming remains as strong as ever. We must continue to give people strong reasons to back British food and farming now and in the future.
“There is no doubt in my mind that 2017 will be an historic, unique opportunity to present a new deal for farming with Britain.
"We expect 2017 to be busy. We’ll set out our expectations for a post-Brexit domestic farm policy in the new year as part of our response to the anticipated Defra Green Paper, which will re-visit its unpublished 25-year plan and take Brexit into account.
"This must aim to create a policy that delivers world-class farming that is supported by a world leading science base to ensure our post-Brexit future is profitable, competitive and productive for us all.”