Without a common framework for post-Brexit agriculture policy, there is a real risk UK farmers could get a competitive advantage over each other, says Mike Hedges, Swansea East AM and chair of the CCERA committee.
I do not know what the final outcome of negotiations with the EU and the votes at Westminster will bring, but I do not believe anyone does.
While there appears to be a Commons majority against the prime minister’s deal, a hard Brexit, remaining in the EU and another referendum, there does not appear to be a majority in favour of any possible outcome.
Not even the most pessimistic person would have expected when Article 50 was triggered that 18 days before we are scheduled to leave, we would not have reached an agreement which had gone through all the votes necessary to leave the EU on March 29.
While the National Assembly in Wales has no formal part to play in either the negotiations or the final decision, we obviously have views on what outcome would be most beneficial for Wales.
Last week, we passed a resolution opposing leaving the EU without a deal at the same time as the Scottish Parliament.
The Welsh Assembly had previously rejected Theresa May’s Brexit agreement in a symbolic vote in the Senedd in December 2018.
AMs discussed the proposed Withdrawal Agreement in a two-hour long debate in the Senedd.
The vote called for the UK to stay in the EU’s single market and customs union, and while this stands as the official view of the Assembly, it is not binding on the UK Government.
We do not have a right of veto or any formal input into the decision, but we have made sure our views have been passed on to the Westminster Government.
Whether you are in favour of or against Brexit, the lack of clarity must be a cause of concern.
At the Assembly we have debated Brexit during plenary sessions almost weekly, but we have also had to look at the Agriculture Bill and other issues relating to farming which will affect Welsh farmers.
Schedule 3 of the Agriculture Bill sets out broad powers for Welsh Ministers to continue making payments to farmers and land managers after Brexit, to make changes to current schemes and to implement replacement schemes.
These powers are intended to be time-limited until the Welsh Government brings forward its own Agriculture Bill, which it says will be before the end of this Assembly term in April 2021.
What we know is there is a need to have similar policies and support in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales because a number of farms straddle the border between England and Wales and England and Scotland.
More importantly, there is single market within the United Kingdom which can be distorted by substantially different financial support.
We need common frameworks to enable the functioning of the UK internal market.
But we also need to acknowledge policy divergence; ensure compliance with international obligations; ensure the UK can negotiate, enter into and implement new trade agreements and international treaties; enable the management of common resources and administer and provide access to justice in cases with a cross-border element.
Mike can be found tweeting at @MikeHedgesAM