NFU Council calls for review into Red Tractor's governance

The new module will be available to the supply chain from 1 April 2024 (Photo: Red Tractor)
The new module will be available to the supply chain from 1 April 2024 (Photo: Red Tractor)

NFU Council has called for a review into how Red Tractor's governance can be improved after the launch of its controversial bolt-on environmental module.

At the union's quarterly council meeting, a resolution was passed highlighting concerns around Red Tractor's voluntary Greener Farms Commitment (GFC) module.

Whilst NFU Council members reiterated their commitment to the principles of farm assurance, criticism was raised over a lack of consultation and delivery of the GFC.

Council members felt that more granular, technical and practical elements of the GFC should have been consulted on more widely before the it was unveiled.

Many also said they expected the voluntary module could eventually turn mandatory.

The resolution passed by council reads: “NFU Council believes poor governance of Red Tractor has brought the reputation of the NFU into question with our membership.

"Consequently NFU Council calls for an independent review of how Red Tractor’s governance can be improved, with the immediate pause on the implementation of new standards and bolt-ons until such a review is completed and its proposals implemented.”

Following the meeting, the union's deputy president Tom Bradshaw said it was now important for Red Tractor to address the concerns raised.

He said: “Red Tractor has been a positive thing for our members and, indeed, is an organisation we helped establish for that very reason.

“We continue to believe that should be the case and the important thing now is for us to work to address the concerns Council has identified and go forward, together, to face the challenges the sector faces in the years ahead.

“We all accept that the roll-out of the GFC hasn’t been as any of us would have wished, but the issue is about procedures, not principles.

"We can and should work together to address those issues, get past this and move on for the benefit of farmers, growers, the wider supply chain and, crucially, consumers.”

The resolution comes following the announcement last week that the new module will be available to the supply chain from 1 April 2024.

The GFC will enable farmers to make commitments and track their own progress across five key areas for environmentally focused farming.

These include carbon foot printing; soil management; nutrient management; waste management; and biodiversity.