NFU President Meurig Raymond has met with new Environment Secretary Michael Gove at the Royal Three Counties Show on Friday to talk about the scope of policy priorities for the farming sector.
In his first face-to-face meeting with the newly appointed Secretary of State, Raymond took the opportunity to impress upon Gove the importance of a sector worth £109bn to the economy, employing 3.8 million people and looking after 70% of the nation’s land.
Meurig Raymond said: “It was pleasing to see the new Secretary of State talking and engaging with farmers at the show today.
“Throughout the meeting we discussed the critical issues which farming businesses face and also opportunities for the sector post-Brexit. I was pleased to be able to do this so soon after his appointment, and at the Royal Three Counties Show – a brilliant shop window for the industry.
“Farming is an industry which has the potential to further its strong contributions to the country – for the economy, the environment and the country’s ability to produce its own high quality, traceable food.
“I stressed the need for certainty as a constant theme of Defra’s activity going forward into Brexit negotiations. When the UK exits the EU, farming businesses need to know what trading and regulatory environment, what labour we’ll have access to and what a domestic agricultural policy looks like.
“Outside of Brexit, there are still key issues for the industry – such as access to plant protection products, the implementation of the Government’s 25 year TB eradication strategy, the rehabilitating impact of rural crime – all of which need Defra’s attention.
“Following up on the letter I wrote to the Secretary of State when he was appointed, I reinforced the message that our shared aim is to ensure a productive, progressive and profitable future for British farmers and assurance to British public.”