*5 December 2023: Clarification
On Monday afternoon NFU Council met to discuss the resolution concerning Red Tractor standards and the Governance Review, passed at its October meeting.
The meeting reviewed the resolution and agreed it was open to potential misinterpretation.
Council reaffirmed its intention that standards which have gone through the full development and consultation process prior to the October meeting should be implemented.
Members discussed whether to alter the resolution, or simply issue a clarification to Red Tractor making Council’s view clear. Council agreed to consider further this week and set itself a deadline of Friday for members who did not speak in the meeting to make their views known if they wished to.
The Council of the National Farmers’ Union at its quarterly council meeting in October reiterated its commitment to the principles of farm assurance, recognising the value assurance schemes play for its farmer and grower members and their vital role in giving access to key markets.
Within that, Council expressed, through a resolution, its concerns about the delivery of Red Tractor’s new bolt-on environmental module, the GFC (Greener Farms Commitment).
Whilst recognising and embracing the increasing role of sustainability in farm assurance, Council members felt that more granular, technical and practical elements of the GFC should have been consulted on more widely before the module was unveiled.
‘Procedures, not principles’
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “Red Tractor has been a positive thing for our members and, indeed, is an organisation we helped establish for that very reason.
“We continue to believe that should be the case and the important thing now is for us to work to address the concerns Council has identified and go forward, together, to face the challenges the sector faces in the years ahead.
“We all accept that the roll-out of the GFC hasn’t been as any of us would have wished, but the issue is about procedures, not principles. We can and should work together to address those issues, get past this and move on for the benefit of farmers, growers, the wider supply chain and, crucially, consumers.”
“We all accept that the roll-out of the GFC hasn’t been as any of us would have wished, but the issue is about procedures, not principles.”
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw
The resolution comes following the announcement last week that the new module will be available to the supply chain from 1 April 2024.