Food, Trade Commitments Welcomed in Secretary of State’s Oxford Address

UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed Michael Gove’s support for food production, delivering fairer food supply chains and securing the right trading platforms post-Brexit when the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs addressed the Oxford Farming Conference this morning (4 January).
calendar icon 4 January 2018
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The Secretary of State also reiterated his previous commitment on maintaining support levels to agriculture until the end of the current parliament in 2022 and mapped out his vision for how support and policy in England may develop beyond that date.

NFU Scotland now looks to Westminster for guarantees on the financial framework and the flexibility for Scotland to develop agricultural policies bespoke to the needs of Scotland’s farmers and crofters.

It also looks to the Scottish Government to expand its policy vision for Scottish food and farming in the weeks ahead. Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing will address members and stakeholders when he attends the NFUS annual conference in Glasgow in February.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: "In calling for agricultural organisations to show leadership in embracing the change that Brexit will bring, it was reassuring that many of the themes addressed by the Secretary of State today have already been captured by the Union in the Change documents we published in 2017 and the nation-wide series of roadshows that we held in November last year.

"With food and drink now Scotland and the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector, we welcome Mr Gove’s recognition that any new, agricultural policy must have food production at its core.

"Initiatives that enable farmers and crofters to deliver on the requirement to produce safe, nutritious food would go hand in hand with NFU Scotland’s post-Brexit vision.

"There was also a welcome commitment that securing tariff-free trade with the EU is an imperative and that all future trade deals recognise and protect the exceptional production and welfare standards being delivered across the UK.

"While the speech focussed on how Defra will deliver for England, Scottish farmers and crofters now need to hear more about what the future holds for them. Reiteration of the funding commitment to 2022 provides some certainty through what will continue to be an uncertain era for Scotland's farmers and crofters.

"That period must be fully utilised to develop and implement a new support regime that fits Scotland's agricultural landscape and which rewards activity, incentivises innovation and productivity, and recognises good stewardship of a flourishing environment, allowing farmers and crofters the opportunity to manage and adapt to change.

"Scrutiny of NFU Scotland’s Brexit CHANGE documents; the recent interim report from Scotland’s Agri-Champions on future strategy and the publication from the National Council of Rural Advisors shows a clear consensus emerging on rural Scotland’s post-Brexit needs.

"We look forward to Scottish Government building on that momentum and expanding on its own post-Brexit vision for Scottish food and farming in the weeks ahead."

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