Farm group urges government to set out early clarity for Brexit in New Year

2017 has seen a "feeding frenzy" over what a policy for farming might look like
2017 has seen a "feeding frenzy" over what a policy for farming might look like

The government must issue early clarity in the New Year on plans for the future of farm policy, according to a farm group.

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has called for the early clarity as farmers need to know the "direction of travel" the government has in plan for the UK post-Brexit.

It says 2017 has seen "intense debate" and a "feeding frenzy" over what a policy for food, farming and the environment might look like in the post-Brexit era.

The farming industry is anticipating the publication in the New Year of the Government’s 25 year plan for the environment.

The Government has already been urged not to put the rural economy at a disadvantage with its environment plan.

This will be followed by a White Paper on food and farming and then an Agriculture Bill.

Th Agriculture Bill will set up a system to support farmers after Brexit takes them out of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). It is unclear how the bill will operate.

'Clear roadmap'

The TFA said that these must set out a "clear roadmap" which enables farmers to understand the policy environment within which they will be expected to operate to enable individual farm businesses to plan ahead.

TFA National Chairman James Gray said: “Inevitably, since the EU referendum in June 2016, it has felt like we have marked time in farming as we await some clear signals about the way ahead.

“The lower value of Sterling will have delivered output price improvements for some sectors and although some input prices will have moved up too, this will have provided something of a cushion for many businesses as they await clarity over the long term position which we now need urgently,” Mr Gray added.

“Of course there will always be uncertainty but with farm businesses having already factored in the expectation of major change in Government policy, it is no surprise that decisions around investment, growth and succession for some and potential exit for others are on hold until the shape of future public policy becomes clearer.”