UK farming bodies call for emergency meeting

The UK’s farming unions are calling for an urgent meeting with UK farming ministers to discuss pressing issues concerning the industry.

Lamb farming, alongside the dairy and arable sectors, is facing serious adversity.

Although the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) claims that the total imports of lamb have decreased -2% from January to May of this year, imports of New Zealand lamb have risen 2.8%.

Considering the uncertain future that lamb, dairy and arable farming is currently facing, the presidents of the NFU, NFU Scotland, Ulster Farmers’ Union and NFU Cymru have announced an emergency summit of farming organisations to take place on Monday (10 August).

The purpose of the meeting will be to urge farming ministers to recognise the serious problems that are present in the industry and to work together to come up with solutions.

In a joint statement, the UK farming unions commented: “We recognise that some of the problems our members face are the result of world market conditions. We also believe that some of the solutions lie at EU level, which is why the UK farming unions will be attending the emergency Council of Agriculture Ministers on 7 September in Brussels. At that emergency meeting, UK ministers need to visibly back British and UK farmers.”

The statement recognised that dysfunctional supply chains, the predominance of major retailers and subsequent price wars were contributing factors towards producing a difficult climate in the UK farming trade.

“Ultimately we need to be in a situation where farm businesses have sustainable incomes that allow them to reinvest and remain competitive. While recent developments like the proposal for tax averaging and a more stable Annual Income Allowance are welcome, more immediate fiscal solutions are also now needed to help with the current cash-flow issues facing many farmers, including introducing more flexibility on loss reliefs.”

The statement concluded by urging industry experts to gather to tackle the problems head on as a united front.

“UK farmers do have the potential to play an enormous part in the economic recovery of the UK and, at the same time, to provide much more of the food the country needs. Therefore we call on the UK farming ministers to meet jointly with us as soon as possible to identify what they can do to alleviate the very serious problems facing our industry and help UK farmers reach their very real potential.”

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