NFU seeking urgent meeting with Government to discuss future of British farming

Minette Batters, NFU President_58032

Above: NFU President Minette Batters pictured at the UK Farming Unions' Farming Brexit Roundtable in September 2018

The NFU is seeking an urgent meeting with the highest level of Government, after the lack of progress at the EU Council meeting on Wednesday night.

NFU President Minette Batters said that the uncertainty now facing farmers and growers is hugely damaging, reminding Government that this is a sector that produces the raw ingredients for the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink.

Brexit talks - October 2018 - quote from minette batters_58031

Mrs Batters said: “More than two years on from the EU referendum, farmers and growers are still faced with considerable uncertainty around what the future will look like for their businesses.

“From a new EU trading relationship to how businesses will be able to recruit a competent and reliable workforce, the lack of clarity and current timescales are now seriously undermining farming’s ability to plan ahead.

“Understanding the trading environment you are operating in is vital to any business. For long-term businesses like farming, it is completely unacceptable. Farmers are having to plan now what they will produce and where it will be sold. To do this without any awareness of what the trading environment will be is impossible.

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“It is vital to both the UK and the EU that a deal is reached which allows the food and farming sector to have a viable future. The NFU has maintained that free and frictionless trade is central to that. This trading relationship allows British farmers to provide safe, traceable and affordable food to the public, all while adhering to some of the highest animal welfare and environmental standards in the world.

“Farmers deliver for our economy, providing jobs and driving growth in rural communities. We provide the raw materials for a domestic food industry that employs 3.8m people and generates £113bn in value for the UK economy.

“The potential of leaving without a deal is unthinkable for British farming and I urge both sides to continue negotiations to reach a deal that works for everyone.

“I am now seeking an urgent meeting with the highest levels of the UK Government to stress the urgency of the situation now facing us.”

What would a no-deal Brexit mean?

A no-deal exit would be the worst possible outcome for the UK farming industry. It will generate costs, delays, increased bureaucracy and in the worst cases an effective export ban of our products going to the EU.  

The UK's trading relationship with the EU is worth £45.5bn. It is the UK food and drink sector’s largest export market with more than 60% of what we export going to EU countries.

Leaving the EU with no deal in place for the future UK/EU trading relationship would mean that we fall back on the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for trade. Click here for an article from the NFU's EU exit and international trade team investigating what this would mean for farmers and businesses involved in international trading.

It's as crucial now as ever to make sure your voice is heard. Invite your local MP to your farm to discuss the challenges you're facing and how a no-deal Brexit would affect your business. Your local NFU office can help you set up a meeting.

Click here for the NFU's quick tips guide to contacting your MP.

Brexit milestones: NFU work pre and post the Referendum, 2015-17

Click here for a summary of the NFU's work on Brexit during 2017.

1 July 2016

Extraordinary meeting of NFU Council which agreed the principles on which the NFU will base their vision for key policy areas, including trade, access to labour and domestic agricultural policy.

29 June 2016

NFU sector board chairs set out their priorities as a reaction to the vote.

26 June 2016

EU Referendum vote and result – UK votes to leave the EU.

April 2016 

NFU presents its Wageningen Report to thousands of NFU members at roadshows across England and Wales. Members quiz expert panel.

24 February 2016

NFU hosts an in/out debate as part of its annual conference with more than 1,300 delegates. 

October 2015 to June 2016 

NFU hosts scores of branch meetings, debates and events across England and Wales. 

September 2015 

NFU writes and publishes report: UK farming’s relationship with the EU and makes copies available to all members.

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