This is a time of enormous political change.
The NFU will be at the fore in ensuring that the needs of our farmer and grower members are represented in Westminster. At the time of writing David Cameron has announced he is stepping down in the autumn and there could well be other significant announcements in the coming days.
The NFU will play a vital role at this time of political uncertainty in ensuring that politicians of all colours understand the importance of farming to the economy and to food security.
In political lobbying it is vital to constantly be on the front foot. We have already sent briefings to MPs outlining what British farm businesses need now the UK has opted to leave the UK. Next week we are holding a parliamentary reception where the NFU President will explain to MPs farming policy priorities and urge them to commit to backing British farming as we move towards an era outside the EU Common Agricultural Policy. This work is only the start, we will be working very closely with the NFU Brussels office to help protect farming’s interests during this period of uncertainty.
Our work has got to be to ensure that a new British farming Bill includes the areas where CAP worked well but also offers improvements to help British farmers. Our priority is to ensure that successive governments protect the interests of Britain’s farmers and growers in the long term.
On trade we will be pushing for the best possible access to the single market. We have an extensive network of MPs and ministers who we will be urging to support our calls for government to open up new markets for British produce.
Many of our members will be concerned about the impact of Brexit on access to labour and we will be urging the UK government to ensure that British farmers and growers are able to recruit and retain the workforce they need to be profitable, competitive and productive. Despite all this, we will not let Brexit talks overshadow issues which need action right now, such as BPS issues, rural broadband, getting the food chain to operate fairly for farmers – our work representing our members will continue in these areas.
Farming is the bedrock to the food industry, Britain’s largest manufacturing sector, we will be ensuring that message is heard and understood in Westminster.