‘Great progress’ on food security

10 August 2023

Minette Batters holding a microphone, speaking to an audience

Minette speaking at the New Forest Show

NFU President Minette Batters told a reception at the New Forest and Hampshire show that great progress has been made on improving food security and making sure farmers are not ignored when trade deals are negotiated – though a lot of work still needs to be done.

Minette told a packed audience she had told the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, that pledges not to disadvantage farmers by restricting imports of food produced to lower standards, like chlorine washed chicken, had got to be put in writing.

Fundamental shift

This had resulted in a fundamental shift in the Government’s thinking.

“When it comes to trade the position is much better than it was. Don’t forget that what seems normal now was not normal then, though it is a travesty that we are importing eggs.

“The rule book has been ripped up and we are starting again. New primary legislation is very rare – the last Agriculture Act was in 1947.”

Minette added that she was “thrilled” by the results of the NFU’s latest Farmer Favourability survey which showed that farmers were ranked second in a list of the most trusted professions, behind only nurses.

Technology grants

Also at the show Defra minister Lord Benyon announced that Defra will award a total of £19 million to 3,000 farmers who successfully applied to the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund for grants to improve farm animal health and welfare.

The rule book has been ripped up and we are starting again.”

Minette Batters, NFU President

During a discussion with members about the announcement, Lord Benyon also revealed the publication of guidance for the latest instalment of the farming transformation fund, the animal health and welfare infrastructure grant that was due to open for applications in early August.

Health and welfare

This is part of the animal health and welfare pathway and will allow farmers to access between £15,000 and £500,000 to co-fund new and upgraded calf housing that ‘improves social contact and the ambient environment.’

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