NFU tells government to honour UK farm standards pledge

Despite the recent future farming policy updates, the NFU said farmers still have concerns over how the government will honour its pledges to safeguard UK farming standards
Despite the recent future farming policy updates, the NFU said farmers still have concerns over how the government will honour its pledges to safeguard UK farming standards

The government has been urged by the NFU to honour its manifesto commitment in the Agriculture Bill to safeguard UK food and farming standards.

The government has published its future farming policy updates, as the Agriculture Bill goes through the Committee Stage in the House of Commons.

And at the same time, new details on the future post-Brexit Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) has been unveiled.

This will see farmers paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife



Responding to the new announcements, the NFU said farmers still have concerns over how the government will honour its pledge to safeguard industry standards.

The Conservative Party manifesto at the recent general election had committed to maintaining British animal welfare and food safety standards.



NFU President Minette Batters said: “The new Agriculture Bill and future Environmental Land Management scheme must offer a golden opportunity for UK farming to become a global leader in climate friendly food and farming.

"But what is missing from today’s announcement is how government will honour its commitment to safeguard our food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards.

“It’s imperative we don’t allow those high standards to be undermined in future trade deals by imports of goods which would be illegal for our farmers to produce here."

Mrs Batters recently told NFU Conference delegates that it would be "insane" for the government to allow imports of products that would be illegal to produce in the UK.

She also said the farming industry is still in the dark over what the UK's future relationship with the European Union will be.

“It’s far from certain that the vision of Brexit promised will be delivered," the NFU president said.

"Despite this uncertainty, government still plans to phase out direct payments for farmers starting in 2021. When the timelines for Brexit were mapped out in 2018 the timelines looked very different.



"Things have changed - and so Defra's plans for transition must change too."

Last week, UK farming unions and organisations agreed that ending the transition period away from BPS should be delayed.

The NFU argues that more time must be taken to better understand the wider economic context and the trading environment the UK will be operating in as these reforms are undertaken.

“It is also crucial the new ELMS should be simple and straightforward," Mrs Batters added.

"We have concerns that the scheme as it is will not properly reward the true value of what farmers deliver for the environment.

"Any new scheme must have farming at its heart and be accessible to all farmers and farm types across the country,” she said.