British Agriculture Bureau – renewed intent after 50 years

20 June 2022

International trade
An image taken to celebrate 50 years of the British Agriculture Bureau

Pictured, left to right: NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy; NFU Cymru President Aled Jones; NFU President Minette Batters; Copa President Christiane Lambert; UFU President David Brown

The four UK farming unions held an event in Brussels on 16 June 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of BAB (British Agriculture Bureau).

The BAB office has helped British farmers navigate and adapt to huge changes over the past 50 years. The introduction of direct payments, the end of quotas, and the introduction of the World Trade Organization among them. It has advised on technology and innovation, and new environmental targets.

It advocates on behalf of its farming members to the European institutions, other European partners and Brussels stakeholders.

50th anniversary

The Presidents of the four UK farming unions were joined by MEPs, members of the EU Agriculture Commissioner’s cabinet, the UK ambassadors to the EU and Belgium, and members of the European farming group Copa-Cogeca to mark its milestone 50th year.

In a joint statement, the UK farming union Presidents said: “Even though the UK has left the EU, it has never been more important for farmers across Europe to work together to tackle the challenges we face on a global scale.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shone a light on the fragility of food systems across the world. There are many countries now confronting the reality of how farmers can continue to feed the world when supply chains are pushed to their limits, input costs are soaring, and climate change is wreaking havoc on harvests.”
Presidents of the UK farming unions

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shone a light on the fragility of food systems across the world. There are many countries now confronting the reality of how farmers can continue to feed the world when supply chains are pushed to their limits, input costs are soaring, and climate change is wreaking havoc on harvests.

“But the war has also demonstrated the importance of international unity. Ultimately, if we are to feed 10 billion people by 2050, global food security must be a priority and this means working together across borders to find solutions.

“The approaches taken by our policy makers may differ, but the ambitions and needs of UK and EU farmers remain aligned. We want to run efficient, profitable businesses that produce world-leading, climate-friendly, affordable food for people at home and abroad.

“The BAB team here in Brussels has a huge amount of work ahead. Though the nature of that work is evolving as the UK navigates its new position outside of the EU, we will continue to support members by working with our European colleagues and ensuring that the voice of British farming is heard internationally.”

More information about BAB

The UK farming unions first established an office in Brussels in 1972 to represent the interests of British farmers and growers as the UK joined the then European Economic Community (EEC).

Officially known as BAB (the British Agriculture Bureau), 50 years later this permanent base in Brussels continues to represent the 70,000 members of the NFU, NFU Scotland, the Ulster Farmers’ Union and NFU Cymru.

BAB also represents the interests of UK farmers through its membership of Copa-Cogeca which brings together the voices of 22 million European farmers in a combined effort to promote the best interests of the agricultural sector among the EU institutions and other relevant stakeholders.

This ensures that British farmers' concerns are heard and provides a platform to develop solutions to technical or trade barriers with the EU and beyond.

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