The NFU has launched a post-Brexit options paper and given its members the chance to voice their opinions on what they think is needed from a future domestic agricultural policy post-Brexit.
This marks the start of the official consultation period - the largest NFU consultation in a generation - which will include 50 meetings across the country for members to attend and discuss the options with officeholders and policy advisers.
The consultation ends on 14 September 2016 – the day the NFU will hold its Back British Farming Day to share a vision of an exciting, dynamic farming future with MPs.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The vote to leave the European Union means that food security must drive a new, bold ambition for UK farmers and growers. This is a historic opportunity, which as NFU Officeholders working on our members’ behalves, we are determined to seize.
“We’re already seeing farmers joining the NFU to participate in the biggest consultation we’ve ever held on the industry’s future. We’re expecting thousands of NFU members to grasp both hands the opportunity to share their views. This is the chance to shape the future for our industry for all future generations of British farmers and growers.
“We all know that farming already makes a huge contribution to the nation; it is the bedrock for a vibrant supply chain and essential for our food and drink industry, worth £108 billion to the economy. It’s now vital that we help shape a new vision for an agricultural policy which ensures a dynamic, profitable and productive future for farming and growing.
“We, as farmers and growers, produce high quality food to world leading standards while also caring for a thriving environment. And the British public has made it clear in survey after survey that they are hugely supportive and that fully aware of the contribution we make to the economy and the environment. On top of this, they would like to see more British food produced at home. The integrity of British produce has never been greater.
“Our vision is for a future policy which enables farming’s contribution to Britain grow. Where our farmers are able to compete with the rest of the world and are able to access the latest technologies to allow us to be ever more resilient, competitive and profitable. Where public goods farmers provide include not just the environment but also renewable energy, education, health and nutrition, to name but a few.
“Nobody should be under any illusions that Brexit will happen in a matter of months. The process of leaving the EU and of creating a domestic agricultural policy will take time and that’s why the NFU has taken the opportunity to carry out this robust consultation. We want to ensure that when we present our vision for a new policy we can clearly demonstrate that this is what farmers and growers from all sectors and in all areas want and need.
“Brexit is about building bridges, building the industry’s influence. The NFU’s aim, once our members have spoken, is to provide a strong and united voice for the food and farming industry, to ensure that agriculture is seen as strategically and politically important in all future trade negotiations.”