Food standards: Minette Batters makes the issues clear in The Times and Mail on Sunday

Minette Batters NFU President Back British Farming 2020

NFU President Minette Batters featured across a range of media this weekend as the crucial discussion on how to safeguard British food and farming standards through future trade deals intensified. Here's a round up with links to where you can read and hear more.

The Times

Mrs Batters talks about her meeting with the Prime Minister last week in an in-depth interview in today's Times (Boris told me, ‘I would rather die than hurt British farmers’, 19 October). In the piece, she talks about why the NFU is calling for better parliamentary scrutiny of future trade deals, and why it's so important that the government legislates to uphold the high production, animal welfare and environmental standards of British farming and to ensure that future deals do not enable imports of food that would be illegal to produce in this country.

The Mail on Sunday

The Times article came hot on the heels of a column in the Mail on Sunday where Mrs Batters spoke directly to readers about the importance of public opinion.

In the piece, she writes:

"Running a farm is not only a daily way of life for those of us in the agricultural sector but a vital part of our national heritage – and our future – that is valued by millions.

"This is why so many support our food and farming sector by buying British produce, enjoying the countryside responsibly and urging politicians to put their words into actions and give Parliament a say on how future trade deals might impact what ends up on our plates.

"More than a million people have gone further by signing the National Farmers’ Union’s food standards campaign petition. More than 120,000 have written letters to MPs. The nation’s favourite chefs and celebrities, including Jamie Oliver, Joe Wicks, Prue Leith, Jimmy Doherty and Raymond Blanc, have joined politicians such as Theresa Villiers, who alongside environmental organisations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and RSPB, formed a unique campaign coalition.

"Hugely significant has been the support of readers of The Mail on Sunday, whose Save Our Family Farms campaign has highlighted the imminent danger of the government using post-Brexit trade talks to open the floodgates to cheap, low-quality imports and at the same time driving world-class British producers out of business."

Mrs Batters goes on to talk about the NFU's work to communicate the importance of these issues and the strength of public feeling as the landmark Agriculture Bill has made its way through Parliament, giving the government the opportunity to shape Britain's future as a global leader in climate-friendly farming.

Click here to read the full Mail on Sunday article.

Public feeling

Over the same weekend, the NFU mobilised thousands of its most passionate Back British Farming campaign supporters to add their voices to the debate.

Some 15,000 of them sent emails to their MP urging them to take action if given a final chance to vote on an amendment to the Agriculture Bill that would empower an independent and expert Trade and Agriculture Commission to provide information and guidance to allow MPs to consider the implications of any future trade deal.

"Public opinion has been clear that we should be investing in Britain’s ability to feed itself and to export our high standards around the world rather than contemplate signing deals that could have catastrophic effects on our farmers."

NFU President Minette Batters

Mail on Sunday, 18 October 2020

Mrs Batters also appeared on BBC Radio 4's Sunday morning news magazine programme, Broadcasting House. Listen again here at BBC Sounds - the interview starts at 32 minutes.

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