The NFU has today said that with clear public support for British farming and its high standards, it is vital that the future government ensures British farming has a sustainable and vibrant future, while able to maintain its world-leading standards.
That is the message from the NFU, as it launched its General Election manifesto, which highlights British farming’s extensive contributions to the nation, from trusted suppliers of British food produced to world leading standards of animal welfare, to its role in protecting and enhancing the countryside.
The manifesto covers Brexit, future domestic agricultural policy, building a thriving countryside, securing a long-term food strategy and placing science at the heart of decision making.
It also highlights three areas that require immediate attention from a future government:
- A commitment that future trade policy will not allow the imports of food produced to standards that would be illegal to produce in the UK, undermining British farm businesses;
- A long-term investment programme to support British farming; and
- Guaranteed access to a skilled and competent workforce.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “The outcome of this General Election will determine the future direction of this country and our farming system, including how we trade with the world, how we invest in our food system and how we attract a workforce.
“British farmers are already world leaders in our standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety, providing the nation with a trusted supply of safe, traceable and affordable food while caring for our iconic countryside.
“However, with the right political environment we believe that we can deliver even more. From our ambitious vision for net zero agriculture by 2040 to increasing our self-sufficiency by producing more high-quality, British food at home, British farmers are up for the challenge.”
Mrs Batters said there are still very real threats that we face as an industry.
“If we crash out of the EU without a deal or introduce a trade policy that allows imports of food produced to standards that would be illegal to produce here, delivering on our ambitions suddenly becomes very challenging,” she said. “That is why we are urging all political parties to commit to protecting our standards of production in future trade policy as one of our headline asks in this manifesto.
“Ahead of the General Election, I will be speaking to candidates from all parties and reiterating to them the strategic importance of British food and farming to the nation, contributing £122 billion to the economy and delivering almost four million jobs. It is absolutely crucial that the issues we raise in this manifesto are addressed by the future government, to ensure our sector has a sustainable and ambitious future.”