Farmers have criticised a Defra leaflet on post-Brexit changes to agriculture for failing to include any information on how to prepare for a no-deal scenario.
A spokesman for the department said it had produced the publication, ‘Farming is changing, here’s what you need to know’, to bring all existing information into one place for farmers.
But Kevin Hawes, a beef and lamb farmer from East Sussex, said he was concerned to see the impact of a no-deal Brexit was not discussed in the leaflet.
In an email to Government Ministers, he wrote: “I was very disappointed to see a series of wishes and intentions which are subject to a new Agriculture Bill, which has long been promised but has not yet been passed, or to consultations.”
Other farmers on Twitter also wanted clarity on how the Government would support them in a no-deal scenario.
Oliver Dowding, agricultural spokesman for the Green Party in the south west, hit out at the leaflet, describing it as ‘25 per cent pretty pictures’ coupled with ‘aspiration and uncertainty creation’.
He said farmers needed more information to budget and plan, including projections of how currency exchange would affect commodity prices.
But Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, told Farmers Guardian the leaflet was a ‘useful update’ for farmers.
“There are a lot of farmers out there who have been left behind with the discussions,” he said.
“Things are changing rapidly and people can be excused for having lost track.”
Mr Stocker did, however, claim the Government was leaving it ‘horribly late’ to announce the detail of no-deal contingency support.
Farming Minister George Eustice has previously said Defra is planning a £100-150m compensation scheme for the sheep sector, citing modelling from the department and NFU which showed the economic impact of EU tariffs would be within that range.
But no decision has been taken yet on whether payments would come in the form of a headage payment on breeding ewes or a slaughterhouse premium on lambs.
It is also unclear whether the modelling undertaken for a March exit date would produce the same result for an October no-deal Brexit.
“The whole idea should be about avoiding things going wrong, and the later they leave it, the more going wrong will be inevitable,” Mr Stocker said.
The Defra spokesman insisted no-deal preparations were being ’boosted’ and said farming sector representatives were being provided with the information they needed before the UK leaves the EU.