The Director General of the National Farmers’ Union, (NFU) Terry Jones and the Head of External Affairs, Olivia Seccombe met with George in Parliament this week. They were keen to discuss with him the NFU Vision on how farming will deliver for the UK post Brexit.
They talked about the proposals for a new British Agriculture Policy, and the two prime objectives; to secure the right trading environment and continued access to the labour British farmers need. They impressed the diverse needs of their membership, and the importance of achieving a fair deal for all, from the croft farmer to the soft fruit farmer, the dairy farmers and the arable farmers.
George touched on the Minister’s speech to the Farmer’s Conference in Oxford, earlier this month in which the Minister spoke of the opportunities that Brexit presented to secure a deal that works for all UK farmers, rather than the entire European Union. He repeated her assurance that financial support would remain unchanged until 2020 .
While the Director General acknowledged and welcomed this, he raised the uncertainty felt by the membership over the phasing out of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies and if and how, these subsidies would be replaced.
George noted that following the triggering of Article 50, the farming sector would have an entire Government department, DEFRA dedicated to working on its behalf. He emphasized the value of this, when competing with other sectors in securing the best possible outcome post Brexit and urged the NFU to work closely with the Department.