Farmers urge Leadsom engagement

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has called on new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Angela Leadsom to work with the body to overcome “market uncertainties”. 

Leadsom replaces Liz Truss who was in the role since October 2014 and has now moved on to the position of justice secretary.

In a letter to the new minister, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond said: “The NFU hopes it can work with her in a similarly productive manner as it did with her predecessor Liz Truss.

“Following a period of uncertainty we are now entering a significant time for our nation following the Brexit vote and the NFU and farming industry is looking forward to working closely with Mrs Leadsom as we together help forge the future of farming and food production in this country. At the forefront will be a new domestic agricultural policy. This should encourage growth, innovation, productivity and profitability.”

Raymond did raise issues that he hopes Leadsom will address.

“However, there are also many issues that need addressing more immediately - we need a simpler application process and improved delivery for BPS; we need a guarantee from Government that agreements for farmers in agri-environment schemes will be honoured in full; we need a continuing commitment to the 25-year TB eradication strategy. And above all, we hope that Mrs Leadsom will champion British food and farming. Our industry has a great story to tell and it’s an industry that is optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead.

“There are many uncertainties to overcome – trade agreements, labour, financial support, legislation are all up in the air. The NFU is embarking on a consultation with our membership – the biggest of its kind for a lifetime – where we will be speaking to farmers and growers across all sectors and in all counties. This work will be invaluable in helping to shape a future domestic agricultural policy – one which is science based, adapted to the needs of British farmers and one which promotes a profitable, productive and sustainable future for British food and farming. With this consultation, we can be sure that when working with Mrs Leadsom, the agricultural policy we push for will have the backing of the farming sector at large.”

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