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Securing ‘fair Brexit transition’ for farmers must be top priority for new Defra Secretary

New Defra Secretary George Eustice has been told securing a ‘fair Brexit transition’ for farmers must be a top priority, as farm groups set out their key asks of Government for the coming months.

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Securing ‘fair Brexit transition’ for farmers must be top priority for new Defra Secretary

The CLA and National Sheep Association (NSA) said more clarity was needed about how the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) would work in order for farmers to know what they are transitioning to.

 

Mr Eustice previously told Farmers Guardian he believed the seven-year agricultural transition was long enough, and could even be accelerated.

 

A CLA spokesman said: “A fair transition is needed, ideally delaying by a year due to the hold-up with the Agriculture Bill.

 

“Cuts made to BPS must be invested in their entirety into productivity and agri-environment schemes.”

 

Another key demand from the NFU, NSA, Livestock Auctioneers Association, TFA, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and FUW was for Mr Eustice to ensure food imports have to meet the same standards as domestic produce.


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Chris Dodds, executive secretary at the LAA, said: “It is all well and good having high standards here, but we must not import products of a lower standard.

 

“And if the UK Government is not going to support farmers for the production of food but we are importing product from countries which are, that is not right.”

 

The TFA also called on Mr Eustice to press ahead with the planned reform of AHDB, urging a focus on market development at home and abroad.

 

In August 2018, the Government ordered a wide-ranging review into the board and sought views on whether to abolish statutory levies, but there has been no progress since the consultation ended.

 

Other asks included a commitment to a multi-annual and ringfenced budget for agricultural support, and clarity on Scotland’s allocation of that funding, from NFU Scotland, a decision on carcase splitting rules from the NSA, a request for the UK to prioritise a good trade deal with the EU above all others from the NFU and NFU Cymru, and a plea for tariff rates for key agricultural products to be set at the same level as those applied by the EU from the FUW.

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