A packed audience at the NFU and FDF fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference heard food and farming leaders’ debate with the Defra Secretary of State Michael Gove on the UK’s future food policy.
NFU President Minette Batters and FDF Chief Executive Ian Wright CBE were part of the panel debating future policy, with the Daily Telegraph’s chief political correspondent Christopher Hope chairing the debate.
A major theme of the night was recognition of the UK’s high standards of food production and animal welfare standards. Mr Gove championed the importance of Red Tractor-assured food delivering high standards for all British shoppers.
Mrs Batters echoed that message by saying it is a “phenomenal” achievement that in the UK, farmers have been able to provide high quality British food to people on every income.
Amid concerns from farmers that new trade deals could potentially lead to Britain’s high standards being undercut, Mr Gove said that “importing food of lower standards would damage all the work our farmers have done”.
Mr Wright highlighted how closely the food and farming industry are working together as Brexit nears. He said that Food and Drink Sector Council, which the NFU and FDF sit on, is an example of working to ensure the whole industry from farm to fork is supported.
The NFU President rounded off the debate in her closing remarks, where she said that “food security is a public good and a public right”.