Government urged to Back British Farming

seeks a vital trade deal with the European Union. With just four months to go before the Brexit transition pe- riod ends on 31 December, the NFU is continuing to highlight the £120bn contribution made every year by the British food and farming sector to the nation- al economy.


A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for UK agriculture, says the union. Tariffs imposed on imposed on the 60% of UK food, feed and drink exported to the EU would have a negative im- pact on domestic production, it has warned.

Hard-hit sectors

The lamb sector would be espe- cially hard hit. In 2017, some 31% of domestic sheep meat produc- tion – the equivalent of 4.5 mil- lion sheep – was exported with 94% of it destined for the EU, es- pecially France. Trade barriers could limit the availability of veterinary medi-

Ps are being urged to Back British Farming as the government

cines, fertilisers, plant protec- tion products, machinery parts and animal feed. Other restric- tions could limit the availability of seasonal agricultural workers from overseas.

We have a fantastic story to tell and we must tell it

Speaking ahead of the NFU’s

Back British Farming Day on 9 September, union president Minette Batters said it was im- portant to showcase to the public and MPs everything that farm- ers deliver – including a fantas- tic countryside well as food for the nation. “We have a fantastic story to tell and it matters now more than ever to tell it,” said Ms Batters. “I want farmers across the country to be loud and proud and show- case what we produce and why the nation should Back British Farming.”

Now in its fifth year, Back

British Farming Day also sees MPs invited to show their sup-

Previous years have seen tractors displayed outside parliament AHDB pledges ‘substantial’ reform after farmer feedback F

armers are to have more say in the way their levy money is spent by the Agriculture and Horticulture Devel-

opment Board. The AHDB has promised a reg- ular ballot on the levy and how it is spent – as well as a review of the levy system for potatoes and horticulture, and a review of the AHDB’s board and commit- tee structure.

It follows a government con- sultation with farmers and other levy payers. AHDB chair-

man Nicholas Sa- phir (right) said a


new five-year strategy would be published for feedback this autumn. “Our industry is about to undergo significant change driv- en by a new direction in trade and agricul- ture policies, as well as shifting consum- er demands.”

Mr Saphir added: “Farming and sup-

ply chain businesses will need to com- pete with the best in the world, draw- ing on the latest insight to improve farm performance, grow market opportuni- ties and meet environmental goals.” The timing and format of a regular ballot on the AHDB levy will be worked out in detail with Defra, and the

Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish govern- ments before being incorporated into statu- tory legislation. Alongside this, levy calculations for hor- ticulture and potatoes will be reviewed and updated. Under a system which predates the AHDB’s formation in 2008, horticulture levies are currently based on business turn- over, while potato levies are based on the area planted.

The structure of AHDB boards and com-

mittees, which has been in place since the or- ganisation was founded in 2008, will also be scrutinised. An independent review of gov- ernance has been put in place and will pro- duce recommendations for change by the end of 2020.

port for farmers by wearing a wool and wheatsheaf pin badge in the House of Commons dur- ing Prime Minister’s Questions. The NFU has produced a re- port reminding the government that British farmers must not see their livelihoods undermined by trade deals that could encourage imports of cheap food produced using methods that are illegal in the UK. Particular concern has centred on products such as chlorinated

chicken and hormone-treated beef. But the NFU is also con- cerned about imports of grain and other products produced using agrochemicals that are banned in the UK. It says Back British Farming

Day is an opportunity to highlight the high production standards met by British farmers – build- ing on the success of the NFU’s food standards petition which has been backed by over a mil- lion people.

This autumn will be a critical time for British farming as the Agriculture Bill returns to the House of Commons, says the un- ion. There has never been a more important time to highlight the crucial role farmers play in feed- ing the nation and caring for the countryside, it adds.

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