NFU President Minette Batters said: “High quality, safe and affordable British food is a public right and needs to be placed at the centre of Brexit negotiations.
“Whilst I welcome the Prime Minister’s recognition that we should make the most of the opportunities presented by our withdrawal, now is the time for detail to be placed on the table.
“The future of our trading relationship is up there with the most critical issues facing the British farming industry. We absolutely need to get this right if farming is to keep delivering for Britain’s economy, environment and food security. It is our ambition to work with Government in creating a new agricultural policy that drives innovation and food production.
“The Prime Minister is right to publicly recognise that British farmers adhere to some of the highest standards in the world and that those standards will not be compromised in a future trade deal.
“However, there are less than 400 days to go until Brexit. Time is now ticking for the diverse range of businesses that make up the British food and farming sector. Many farmers are now making business decisions for the next five or even ten years without knowing what trading environment they will be operating in. The time has now come for both sides of the negotiation to come to the table in a meaningful way to agree a way forward which will ensure that farming and food production does have a resilient future outside the EU.
“Farming is the bedrock of the largest manufacturing sector – food and drink - which contributes £112 billion to the nation’s economy and provides 3.8 million jobs. This cannot be forgotten at the negotiating table.”