A new domestic agricultural policy should ensure British farming continues to deliver for the economy, environment and public well being, says NFU president Meurig Raymond.
Addressing the Green Conservatism Conference, organised by think tank Bright Blue, Mr Raymond urged the government and farming industry to seize the opportunity to develop a bespoke deal once Britain leaves the EU.
He said: “Brexit offers the farming industry the opportunity of a lifetime to develop a domestic policy tat can meet, and go beyond, the expectations and needs of the public. Leaving the EU should be a catalyst for a clear vision and a much needed food plan and government must take advantage of this. Farming already provides 61 per cent of the food for the nation but we are confident a new domestic agricultural policy can give us the opportunity to enhance our ability to provide home grown food for the nation, while continuing our care for the countryside. It is crucial that we seize this opportunity and create the right policy framework for Britain. There is recognition that it is important to have a productive farming sector, 89 per cent of the public believe this is the case, so it is vital that we get this policy right.”
The NFU’s framework document for a Domestic Agricultural Policy demonstrates how increasing productivity, managing volatility and enhancing the farmed environment is vital to delivering a bold and ambitious future for the farming sector.
The NFU believes improving farm productivity post-Brexit can have benefits that extend far beyond the farm gate. It can allow farmers to create more space for nature, further invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and better manage nutrients.
Mr Raymond said: “British farming is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, worth £109 billion and employing 3.9 million people. I am confident we can be build on that if we make our domestic agricultural policy a success.”