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Opinion - There's a great future on the horizon once the Brexit shock has died down

Michael Seals, Derbyshire farmer and AHWB England chairman

 

The campaign is over and the result known. Many farmers I have spoken to are slightly shocked at the outcome but equally pleased at the part our industry played in the result.

 

Audiences and surveys showed that the farming community was, like the country, in favour of leaving the EU.

 

The current wave of hysteria will calm and now is the time for reflection to assess the implications, develop a new British or English support scheme and ensure the future of our industry.

 

The expertise that lies within the many organisations which represent us - from Defra and its many bodies, the Environment Agency and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), through to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the wider industry - is collectively vast.

 

It is a time for a new partnership with farming organisations and the Government working together, to initially design the first principles of a new support scheme for our industry and address the many practical issues such as migrant labour that need resolution.

 

What those issues are came out loud and clear during the debates.

 

  • De-regulation.
  • Continued access to our markets.
  • Migrant labour.
  • Future area environmental payments.
  • Investment in R&D and the ability to use products that science has deemed both suitable and safe.
  • Enhanced marketing support, finding new markets for our products on the world market, whilst ensuring maximum uptake of British products in the domestic market.
  • Addressing the price volatility of major commodities.
  • Investment incentives to help farmers become more productive and resilient.

 

I was going to say that for the moment nothing has changed, but the sterling’s volatility has already seen commodity prices rise and opportunity for us to sell forward.

 

The reality is there will be at least two years before real change affects us, no doubt we will have a form of transition from one system to another.

 

I am confident we have the time and expertise to address all these issues.

 

It’s a new start for an industry with a great history and equally a great future.

 


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