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Farming industry split over EU referendum

The EU referendum is proving to be a divisive issue for farmers, but is the industry better off in or out? Olivia Midgley and Alistair Driver report on which way key industry chiefs were leaning.

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VIDEO: The farming industry had its say at this year's NFU conference

Team 'stay'

Team 'stay'

"We are able to export our high quality products freely without the trade barriers we deal with elsewhere and with a say in the rules."
Defra Secretary Liz Truss

 

 

"I would defend staying in because it would make it difficult to access labour."
Guy Poskitt, Yorkshire grower and NFU horticulture board chairman

 

 

“The EU is crucial to the financial success of my family’s businesses and EU support is crucial to our financial success.”
George Lyon, former MEP for Scotland

 

 

“I think it would be a disaster. My life has been one of fighting hard. If you see things going wrong you get stuck in it to put it right – you don’t just turn your back on it."
Lord Plumb, former NFU president

 

 

“The Labour Shadow Defra team is definitely in the ‘remain’ camp because of the great uncertainty of exiting, for example in terms of trade. But the big question is: ’Would the Treasury really support farmers in the same way?’”
Shadow Farming Minister, Nick Smith

 

 

“There is massive uncertainty over what leaving the EU would mean. There are predictions food prices will drop and we know who will pay for that. The idea of suddenly having the door slammed shut on support while our key competitors get it would be a shock to UK farming.”
Peter Kendall, speaking as a farmer rather than AHDB chairman

 

 

Views from FGInsight.com

  • "Leaving the EU is madness for UK farming, unless no one is bothered about the BPS."
  • "While I first thought we would be better alone, I now see the UK Government wouldn’t offer the same subsidies because it physically can’t - even a conservative govt.
    Equally, some of the trade agreements we get are not going to be available for us as an individual nation. Smaller penalties for first time offenders have now been agreed by the commission on an interim basis which should help protect farmers against the growing red tape - Brussels Bureaucracy."
  • "Not enough info for any no vote for farmers to make sense."

Team 'leave'

Team 'leave'

“My own view is we would be better off if we take control. If we ended the supremacy of EU law we would be free to come with fresh thinking on policy and to deal with some of the problems farmers have around regulation."
Farming Minister George Eustice

 

 

"I am certain we could do better by managing our own affairs and looking to our own interests. We could guarantee to pay farmers £90/acre for four to five years to bring them closer to EU average. And we’d be free to work in acres again."
Daniel Hannan, Conservative MEP for south east England and secretary general for the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists

 

 

“I am definitely an outer. Would we be at greater risk if we left? Probably, but it comes down to whether we want to take the risk of running our own industry or we want to be part of 28 countries."
Michael Seals, speaking as a farmer rather than AHWBE chairman

 

Views from FGInsight.com

  • "Too much beurocracy. We can’t make any money being in the EU so why should we carry on."
  • "The EU has changed dramatically since Britain joined, time for Britain to change."
  • "Mr Cameron has done a good job in trying to negotiate a revised membership, but the Brussels bureaucracy will never really allow us to achieve our aims and so the only real way to retain our sovereignty is to leave the EU."
  • "End of subsidies would bring down land values by 30 per cent. Give the younger generation a chance instead of closed shop for people born into it."


 

Brexit web poll

 

We asked FGInsight.com users 'Should Britain remain in the EU?'

 

Results


Yes: 43%

 

No: 57%

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