Our ambition for the crops sector

04 July 2024

Jamie Burrows

Jamie Burrows

NFU Combinable Crops Board chair

NFU Combinable Crops Board chair Jamie Burrows in a field of wheat

As the NFU Combinable Crops Board embarks on another two-year term, its chair, Jamie Burrows, shares the board’s updated ambitions.

I am really pleased, in fact humbled, to be elected as chair of the NFU Crops Board. We have a challenging two years ahead of us; our sector faces significant hurdles, but as an industry we are world leading in terms of our quality, innovation, and resilience.

I am especially pleased to recognise the strength of our board, bringing together myriad perspectives, experiences and expertise, all with a common goal – to foster growth, innovation, and sustainability across our farming communities.

Value of the industry and its members

As a board we are here to promote these qualities by demonstrating the value of our industry and the work of you, our members.

Through concerted efforts and strategic initiatives, we will work towards the enhancement of productivity, optimisation of land use, fostering fairness across the supply chain, and propelling advancements in plant health, and research and development.

It is our ambition to support the creation of a future where sustainable agriculture not only thrives, but fosters the building of resilient and sustainable farming businesses.

We have a challenging two years ahead of us... but as an industry we are world leading.”

NFU Combinable Crops Board chair Jamie Burrows

Next two years

During the next two years, the NFU Combinable Crops Board will be busy working to support and promote the industry.

Alongside the key priorities, we will also be working to focus on new breeding techniques and seed, niche crops, air quality, soil health, waste management, skills and training, health and safety and the promotion of NFU campaigns.

In light of the challenges facing the sector, including political uncertainty, financial hardship and the ever-growing need to build resilience into farming businesses, we will be working across a targeted programme of engagement with policymakers, ministers, MPs and stakeholders.

Together we can drive positive change within our industry.

What’s on the agenda?

The NFU Crops Board’s vision is for a profitable, sustainable, and globally competitive sector within a marketplace that has fairness and transparency at its core.

Ambitions towards maintaining or enhancing profitability on combinable crops farms across England and Wales will run throughout all policy and lobbying activities.

Our priorities

Board members will be posting regular updates on each of these priorities so keep checking back to get the latest news.


1. Fairness in the supply chain 

Develop a supply chain fairness strategy, to include options for legislative interventions through the Agriculture Act, supply chain actions, data sharing, and upskilling members to better understand and negotiate contracts.

Read board member Matt Culley’s deep dive into how the board will be supporting members with fairness in the supply chain.


2. Land use

Continue to review the existing SFI standards and regularly engage with Defra to offer feedback and to ensure all standards are fit for purpose.

Ensure policies relating to biodiversity net gain, net zero and water are fit for purpose and support productive and profitable farm businesses.

Read board member Peter Gadd’s thoughts on what this means in practice.


3. Tax, budget and productivity measures

Investigate opportunities for measures that will support increased productivity on farm, including through existing or new funding mechanisms such as tax opportunities, crop insurance.


4. Combinable Crops Board strategy

Develop a sector strategy which sets out the key policy asks in the run up to the general election, along with a targeted programme of engagement with policy makers, ministers, MPs, and stakeholders pre and post election.


5. Plant health

Ensure government policies, including the forthcoming National Action Plan, deliver sustainable plant health solutions that enable UK farmers and growers to produce crops that meet the needs of consumers, the environment and profitable farming businesses.


6. Research and development

Establish core aims and asks for applied R&D within the arable sector and ensure these are embedded within the priorities of funding providers and AHDB. 

This page was first published on 06 June 2024. It was updated on 04 July 2024.


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