British farming should go back to the good-old days of 'locally tailored schemes' in order to forge a thriving agricultural policy, farming minister George Eustice said during a dairy conference in Glasgow.
Mr Eustice said future principles should fuse old-fashioned farm husbandry, crop husbandry and soil husbandry but with the best genetics available today.
"The type of thing my grandparents might have done," he said.
"It's not about bolt-on cross-compliance measures, but going back to first principles with locally tailored schemes, possibly tailored round water catchments or landscape definitions."
Mr Eustice said he wanted to see improvements in the environment made by reintroducing livestock to the lowlands; reintroducing more rotation; and improving the amount of organic matter in soils – but all without compromises in yield.
Mr Eustice visited Gryffe Wraes Farm at Bridge of Weir, Scotland, hosted by Willie Harper, who was recently elected chairman of NFU Scotland's Forth and Clyde Region.
'Hugely uncertain times'
Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive Scott Walker said it remains a 'hugely uncertain time' for the industry.
"NFU Scotland remains on the front foot when it comes to engaging with key politicians on what Scottish agriculture needs to secure from the negotiations ahead.
"Policies that promote productive, profitable agriculture and reward and support the active farmer or crofter are central to our future and Mr Eustice saw clear evidence today of how important support is to a hard-working family farm.
"Today (17 January) may see the Prime Minister refine her views on what approach she intends to take when we look at market access and trade deals that may need to be struck in the post-Brexit era."
The PM will today tell other European countries the UK wants to trade with them "as freely as possible" but will not be "half-in, half-out" of the EU.
Her speech is expected to include further hints Britain could leave the EU single market.
Market access: A key driver
Mr Walker said for British agriculture, market access is a 'key driver' for how the industry will move forward.
"We welcomed this opportunity to engage with the Minister on farm. It follows on from meetings in recent weeks with the Defra Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom and David Jones MP, Minister of State at the recently created Department for Exiting the European Union.
"These meetings are welcome, but crunch time is coming on Brexit and there would be real value to the industry if a round table meeting with all key politicians could be put in the diary so that preparedness for the greatest single challenge faced by our industry can be as good as it possibly can."
Mr Eustice said he was focused on a UK-wide farm policy.
He said: "It wouldn't work in the context of a UK single market if Wales or Scotland were paying huge headage subsidies to their lamb sector and placing Cumbrian sheep farmers at a massive disadvantage, so you'd need to have some sort of parameters to protect the integrity of the UK market."