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What did we learn from Michael Gove at the NFU conference?

21st Feb 2018 / By Alistair Driver

Michael Gove made some headlines with his speech at the NFU conference. But what did we learn from a pig perspective about future policy? 

Gove NFU

The speech was short on hard policy announcements but contained a number of points of interest, including: 

  • Mr Gove outlined plans to use funding under a future domestic agricultural policy to incentivise higher welfare standards on farms.  "This could include pilot schemes that offer payments to farmers delivering higher welfare outcomes, or payments to farmers running trial approaches and technologies to improve animal welfare that are not yet industry standard," he said. You can read the full story here
  • Challenged repeatedly on the threat potentially posed by lower standard imports under future trade deals, he delivered a firm commitment: “We will not lower environmental or animal welfare standards as part of any new trade deals." 
  • The Defra Secretary hinted at an announcement soon on a seasonal workers scheme for agriculture, while also acknowledging the importance of permanent labour.
  • He announced a comprehensive review of farm inspections to ‘remove bureaucratic burdens placed on farmers’. It will be led by Dame Glenys Stacey, a former chief executive of Animal Health. You can read more on this here
  • Mr Gove promise to use Brexit to improve public procurement to ensure the Government is doing its bit to support British food.
  • He said would make an announcement soon on plans to utilise new technology to develop a multi-species Livestock Information Programme.
  • He suggested that money the UK no longer pays to the EU could be used to help deliver universal broadband and 4G coverage for all.