Farm leaders urge Red Tractor to drop Greener Farms Commitment

(Photo: Red Tractor)
(Photo: Red Tractor)

Farming groups have issued a recommendation to Red Tractor urging it to discontinue its controversial Greener Farms Commitment (GFC) module.

Unions and levy organisation AHDB have released a joint statement today (5 March) following a separate report into the GFC by Campbell Tickell.

Any resumption of work on the voluntary, bolt-on module would be 'extremely damaging' to Red Tractor’s reputation, the five groups warned.

In October, Red Tractor received significant backlash from the industry over the module due to a lack of consultation over it.

Farm leaders said that more granular, technical and practical elements of the GFC should have been consulted on more widely before it was unveiled.

Many also featured that the voluntary module would have eventually turned mandatory.

In today's statement, the five groups said they 'strongly recommended' the assurance body to halt its development of the GFC module.

The statement said: "Farming unions and AHDB are very clear that the Greener Farms Commitment will be unable to command any level of support no matter what consultation is put in place.

"Instead, the AFS board needs to begin from first principles in “full consultation mode” and once trust has been re-established, to offer the best basis for propelling action on these issues."

They added: "Resumption of work on the Greener Farms Commitment module would be extremely damaging to Red Tractor’s reputation."

Campbell Tickell's report, released last month, warned that Red Tractor faced a situation that could become to an 'existential crisis' if governance improvements are not made.

The report said that the assurance body "faces intense criticisms and mistrust from a significant minority at least of the farming community".

It went on to say that the "current situation is serious, and damaging for Red Tractor, but need not be fatal."

In today's statement, farming unions and AHDB urged Red Tractor to 'move swiftly' to implement the recommendations contained in Campbell Tickell’s report.