Calls for common financial framework

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The leaders of the UK farm unions, who met in Newcastle, on Friday have agreed to press the UK’s Farming Ministers to work for a common financial framework post-Brexit.

During the UK Farming Unions’ Brexit Summit, Presidents of the NFU, NFUS, NFU Cymru and the Ulster Farmers’ Union challenged the UK Farming Ministers to establish a well–funded, refreshed agricultural policy that suits the different farming conditions across the UK and allows farms to prosper.

A statement said: “Ministers must avoid an abrupt cliff edge for farmers following the exit from the EU. So it’s vital that Governments across the UK cooperate to ensure a funding transition from the current CAP to policies best suited to circumstances of different parts of the UK. In doing so each administration must avoid disruptive differences across the UK and between sectors.”

In order to achieve this, the UK Farming Union Presidents proposed a Brexit Summit with their Farming Ministers.

Joining the meeting was the UK Farming Unions’ permanent representative in Brussels, Maeve Whyte.

She updated the UK Unions on the European Commission guidance on the Article 50 negotiations and the BAB office’s continued work on issues such as glyphosate and veterinary medicinal product legislation. She emphasised the importance of maintaining our excellent links to food and farming partners in Brussels and the importance of maintaining these relationships over the Brexit period and beyond.

The UK farming union Presidents reaffirmed the importance of their organisations remaining firmly engaged with EU policy development in the run-up to Brexit and also agreed the vital on-going role representation and presence in Brussels will have after the UK leaves the EU.

Meanwhile Ulster Farmers’ Union president, Barclay Bell, used his speech at the UFU’s annual dinner to urge the prime minister and government officials to get Brexit right for agriculture.

“Food has been devalued. When it comes to price, it’s a race to the bottom and this is simply not sustainable. We now have the perfect opportunity for fresh and indeed radical thinking to develop a new way ahead for UK agriculture but we need the full backing of the government to help us deliver this,” said Mr Bell.

The UFU president underlined the impact farming has on the wider economy, which gains £7.40 for every pound spent by a farmer. He said politicians, particularly at Westminster, need to take food and food security more seriously.