Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, said leaving would ’cause huge disruption’ and falls in farmgate prices
The National Sheep Association (NSA) have said comments from Theresa May and other MPs on the single market are not ’helpful’.
NSA said an immediate move away from the single market at the point of departure from the EU could be disastrous to UK sheep farmers.
Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, said: “On average, 30 to 40 per cent of the total lamb crop produced and mainly processed in the UK is exported.
"With some 96 per cent of this output going to countries within the EU, any loss of access or tariff placed on this, coupled with the absence of alternative trade options, will not only cause huge disruption to trade but an almost inevitable fall in farm gate prices.
"The UK simply cannot afford to leave the single market and pass any costs of tariffs back to the agricultural industry until alternative and workable trade deals are developed elsewhere.
"Wider, global trade development at a scale to replace what we have with the EU is an extremely long term goal that needs to be discussed in the context of a long transitional period if we were to leave the single market."
He said he understood the need for ’a tough negotiating stance’ but the EU exit needed to be done with a ’clear vision’.
"Sheep farming, like most farming sectors, is a long-term activity where decisions taken today may take years to come to fruition.
"A two-year EU departure with an immediate departure from the single market is nowhere near long enough to steer the sheep farming industry through one of the most seismic changes we could possibly face.”