Minette Batters issues warning on post-Brexit trade deals in New Year message

NFU President Minette Batters has highlighted the need to uphold the UK’s food values as the Government enters into negotiations on post-Brexit trade deals.

In her New Year message, Mrs Batters said the December election meant we can finally say with some certainty that the UK will be leaving the EU on January 31.

“The outcome of the election gives us an opportunity to reset and re-energise for 2020. For the NFU, this means working with the government to ensure that British farming can thrive post-Brexit and creating every opportunity to champion our farming standards which are some of the best in the world,” she said.

“Top of the priority list must be reaching a trade deal with the EU – one which supports a profitable and sustainable UK farming sector – by the end of 2020.

“In Britain we have some of the highest standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety in the world. Our farmers have worked hard to earn this place on the global stage and are rightly proud of their reputation.

“It is imperative that our food values are upheld as we enter into international trade negotiations with parties such as the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. We cannot risk betraying these values by allowing food imports such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef – food that has been produced in ways that are illegal here – onto our supermarket shelves.”

She also highlighted how the NFU was already working with farmers, the government and other stakeholders to help British agriculture become net zero by 2040 to help address climate change.

“We know that we are leading the way in climate-friendly food production and that we are setting the global standard for sustainable food. Farmers can also be confident that the road to net zero agriculture is full of opportunities for them to grow their businesses, and we will continue to work with the government to implement effective incentives within the new Agriculture Bill,” Mrs Batters said.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.