The NFU President Meurig Raymond has sent out a clear message for the new year, emphasising the importance of 2018 for shaping the future of the food and farming industries.
In his new year message, Raymond said: “As we look ahead to the next year, we will see an Agricultural White Paper and Agriculture Bill that will shape our industry for generations to come. Despite the uncertain times, I am confident that the NFU has set a clear path for farming and that working with the industry, stakeholders and Governments across the UK, we can all secure a future that delivers for the country, society and thousands of family farms.
“Farming is the bedrock of the UK’s food and drink sector, now worth £112 billion to the nation’s economy, providing jobs for 3.8 million people. Future policy must enable British farmers to invest and grow so the sector can continue to play its part in a successful UK post-Brexit.
“With Brexit negotiations now past the initial phase, it is more important than ever that we recognise and support the work of British farmers in providing the food for our nation, maintaining our iconic farmed landscape and contributing billions of pounds to the UK’s economy.
“Despite the difficulties farmers have faced throughout the last year we have had some great successes; agriculture was at the heart of the Industrial Strategy, the Government has committed to maintain the current level of agricultural funding until 2022 and it has also endorsed the NFU’s vision for the future Domestic Agricultural Policy.
“This vision focuses on three cornerstones – environment, productivity and volatility – which we believe should form the basis of bold and ambitious future policy measures. It outlines that competitive, sustainable and profitable farm businesses are central to a dynamic food supply chain and as well as increasing the UK’s self-sufficiency. The NFU will continue to work hard through 2018 to see this vision become reality.
“Through events like the NFU’s Back British Farming Day and various party conferences, our voice is being heard in Government and MPs are acknowledging the importance of farming within their own constituencies. In September, 186 MPs pledged to support the NFU’s Back British Farming campaign and the Prime Minister herself declared her support for British farming at Prime Minister’s Questions. We will continue to ensure that public support for British farming remains strong and that there is political recognition of the importance of the farming industry.
“In what has been a frustrating year for many, the NFU and its members have been clear in their message to Government: post-Brexit policy must allow farms to be profitable, productive and progressive. Opportunities have and will continue to arise throughout Brexit negotiations and we must be ready to take them wherever we can.”