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TFA outlines proposals for £3bn post-Brexit farm support policy

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has laid out its proposals for a draft £3 billion post-Brexit UK agricultural support policy that would replace the current system of area payments.

The TFA would like to see area payments replaced if the UK votes to leave the EU
The TFA would like to see area payments replaced if the UK votes to leave the EU

The Government should implement a £3 billion farm support policy but abandon area payments if the UK votes to leave the EU in June, according to the Tenants Farmers Association (TFA).


The TFA’s draft of a potential agricultural policy in the event the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23 includes 14 ‘suggested mechanisms’ ranging from more powers for the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) to various strands of financial support for farmers.


It wants any policy put in place to replace the CAP to include the objectives of helping to correct market failure, reducing the UK’s reliance on imported food and ensuring reasonable standards of living for farmers.


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What the TFA is proposing

Proposed financial support measures include:


  • Maintaining the current budget of £3bn allocated to agricultural support.
  • A £1bn new agri-environment scheme setting out a menu of costed options farmers can choose from, judged on the basis of outcomes, as opposed to the means of achieving the outcomes. These would include specific options for hill and upland farmers focusing on ruminant livestock production.
  • A £1bn new Farm Business Development Scheme providing annual grants of up to £25,000 per farm per year to assist with the implementation of approved five-year plans for farm development covering investment in fixed equipment, cost reduction initiatives, processing capacity, diversification, marketing, cooperative schemes, producer organisations, etc.
  • £1 billion to near market research and development, promotion, market development, brand development and other supply chain initiatives.


Other proposed measures include:


  • Providing the Groceries Code Adjudicator with wider and deeper powers to investigate malpractice within the groceries supply chain. This includes OFSTED style powers to engage with retailers, a remit to look at the whole of the supply chain where required and the responsibility to report on the balance of returns within the supply chain.
  • Requiring that all food sold in the UK is subject to meeting Red Tractor Standards.
  • Mandatory country of origin labelling on all food sold through major retailers.
  • Negotiation of access agreements for UK farm products into EU markets.
  • Respond robustly against tariffs levied by the EU on exports of farm products from the UK
  • Implementing the TFAs plan for longer and more sustainable farm tenancies


To see the TFA's full paper, click here


To read more about what could replace the CAP, see our latest Brexit Briefing here


The TFA said its paper was ‘offered as a draft for discussion and debate’ and is calling for comments and thoughts from anyone with an interest in this policy area.

TFA chief executive George Dunn said: “The debate about our membership of the EU has got to be more than about subsidy payments.


"We should be looking at many other areas including developing fairer supply chains, ensuring protection against inappropriate trading practices, creating a proper and progressive farming ladder and protecting the British brand.


"The TFA’s draft policy addresses these and other areas."


Credible Plan B

He said the TFA could not advocate leaving the EU 'without a credible plan for what a post-EU Britain would look like'.


“However, we have promised our members that we will keep this under review as new information becomes available in advance of the Referendum”.


“Sadly, whilst there has been significant amounts of rhetoric, soundbites, claim and counterclaim from both sides of the campaign this has provided rather more heat than light."


He added: “As I travel around the country, many farmers in their heart of hearts would like to see Britain leave the EU.


"They find it attractive to consider a future of self-determination, of clear policies which would deliver a vibrant and prosperous agricultural industry, resilient against volatility and proudly supported by our own Government."


"However, they simply do not trust that British politicians would ever deliver such a vision and are therefore more likely to vote to remain within the EU.


"Perhaps the choice to leave would be made easier if they knew that this would also lead to a change in Government to deliver a pre-agreed agricultural policy for Britain. However this is not on offer."




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