Guy Smith said he would not apologise for campaigning for support for farming and food production in post-Brexit policy
Speaking at a ’Brexit and You’ seminar in Newark, the NFU vice president was asked the union’s stance on campaigning for payments for ’public goods’ post-Brexit.
"There should always be an element of agri-environmental schemes in agricultural policy," he said.
He added the current schemes would automatically carry on after the UK left the European Union unless the Government opted for the ’Brexit clause’.
He said while it may be more appealing politically to appeal for support for the public good he was ’conscious it could be overcooked’.
"If the only support mechanism that we get is for environmental delivery we then become state paid park keepers," he said.
"My concern is where does that leave food?"
He said the NFU would be campaigning for farming in post-Brexit agricultural policy and food was important.
"I would always make the point that it is quite right that as a nation we should try and secure an element of our own food needs from our own resources and our policy should reflect that," he said.
He criticised environmentalists such as George Monbiot who wanted to ’rewild’ areas of land which were currently used for farming.
"What Mr Monbiot needs to remember is if he wants to rewild vast tracts of England that is good farmland at the moment, the knock on effect of that is more imports from parts of the world where environmental standards are probably not as good," he said.
"So the net effect globally is to worsen the situation.
"I make no apologies for sticking up for farming and food in the next few years and not letting the Government palm us off with payments for other things."