Trade focus - Herefordshire NFU hears from Minette Batters

13 December 2021

West Midlands

NFU President Minette Batters spoke with Herefordshire members at their annual open meeting.

More than 50 farmers and industry representatives met virtually to hear from NFU President Minette Batters.

 

The Herefordshire NFU annual open meeting heard the union is focused on fair marketplace returns and Government needs to invest further in our ability to export British produce. 

Mrs Batters said farm businesses were currently dealing with “extraordinary times of challenge from the market that was pretty much unprecedented”.

Members heard there would be serious discussions around fair returns at a big supply chain event, an NFU Food Security Summit, on 14 December, in Westminster.

The meeting also heard about the Australian and New Zealand trade deals and Mrs Batters gave some insight into their potential impact.

She said both countries were very serious food exporters who had spread their risk and had invested considerably in their respective trading platforms.

Australia currently has 22 agricultural counsellors while New Zealand has 17 and they are based around the world in key trade locations to promote their nation’s agricultural interests, and help their sectors grow.

Mrs Batters said she wanted to see more from Government to promote British and help drive our exports with more “boots on the ground” in the future.

She said: “Recently it has been announced there will be eight more UK agricultural counsellors and that brings us up to 10, so you see what I mean by chipping away and while we might not get everything we want, we do make progress all the time.

“I am confident we will get more agricultural counsellors, more boots on the ground as time moves forward.

“I must say it’s tough to have to fight so hard for things that should be a fundamental requirement - investing in our export platform is fundamental to us an independent trading nation.”

She also discussed the importance of the EU as our biggest market and closest trading partner and dealt with some of the export challenges following Brexit.

At the meeting climate change, pressure on the horticulture and pig sectors, rising input costs for all, the sustainable farming incentive and the Farming Rules for Water were also put under the spotlight.

Mrs Batters finished by saying she hoped she had been able to give Herefordshire members a quick snapshot of the huge amount of work the union was doing on behalf of their farms.

“We have a very powerful team with my fellow officeholders and the sector board chairs who are all underpinned by a very capable team of staff,” she said.

“We have never needed the NFU more than we need it now.

“This is the greatest reset moment for farming, since 1947, and it needs all of us, everyone everywhere to focus on what good looks like and how we are going to get there.” 

Other items on the meeting agenda included commodity board reports and a presentation to the best Herefordshire NFU group.

This was won by Alec Bond and Tim Pote, Kington NFU group secretaries, for membership growth and their work to benefit and support farmers and their businesses.

For further information about the NFU’s lobbying work or to join the union, farmers and growers can contact their local group secretary or Herefordshire NFU county adviser Clare Greener on 01432 807464.

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