Farmers are being given a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to have a hand in developing a new British agricultural policy, the NFU has said.
Launching its ‘options paper’, which details key policy areas such as trade, access to labour, financial support and regulation, the union urged its 47,000 members to take part in one of its biggest ever consultations.
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Our member consultation will be the foundation of our high level vision for domestic agriculture.
"This helps us engage with the Government and shape a domestic farm policy; one which will lead to a profitable, productive and sustainable future for our industry.
“Over the coming weeks we will be consulting with our members, in every sector and in every county, getting their considered thoughts on our options paper in order to feed in to a final report.
“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for farmers to be part of deciding the future of British farming. We need as many members as possible to be involved.”
Members’ views will be collated before a final report is prepared.
This will go back to NFU policy board on September 29, before final agreement by NFU Council in October.
NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie said the UK farming unions were committed to working together as they strive to get the best deal for farming post-Brexit.
A joint statement said: “There’s no doubt there will be hurdles to overcome which is why the four UK farming unions are committed to working together to ensure that farmers interests are protected in the UK’s negotiated exit from Europe.
“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop the right policies and the best trade deals. Our role now, working together, is to show leadership across our respective borders and help to shape our future.
“NFU Scotland, NFU, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers Union have a longstanding and close relationship that will be even more important going forward as we face the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.
“We have already engaged on several occasions since the outcome of the UK’s vote of the EU referendum and will come together next week to share plans and our vision for a thriving UK agriculture. We will ensure that our collective voice – and that of UK farmers - is heard.”
The highlighted the £108 billion contribution the UK food manufacturing sector made to the economy.
The statement added: “Politics change, sometimes dramatically as we have seen in recent weeks, but farming’s absolute importance to the UK does not; farmers will continue to feed our nation and play a part in feeding the world. Farmers will continue to provide the raw ingredients for a thriving food and drink sector.
“Together, the UK farming unions are 70,000 members strong. This combined strength will be vital for the journey ahead.”