Opinion: UK farming set to have 'monumental' year

This time last year I said that 2019 was going to be a pivotal time for British farming. I wasn’t wrong, but if this year has been big, 2020 is going to be monumental.

Two Brexit extensions and a general election later, we find ourselves in the familiar position of trying to anticipate where the farming industry, and indeed the country, is heading.

However, given the government’s majority in parliament we can finally say with some certainty that the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 January.

It is imperative that our food values are upheld as we enter into international trade negotiations with parties such as the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

We cannot risk betraying these values by allowing food imports such as chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef – food that has been produced in ways that are illegal here – onto our supermarket shelves.

In terms of the climate crisis, the NFU is already working with farmers, the government and other stakeholders to help British agriculture become net zero by 2040.

Mrs Batters said: “We know that we are leading the way in climate-friendly food production and that we are setting the global standard for sustainable food.

Farmers can also be confident that the road to net zero agriculture is full of opportunities for them to grow their businesses, and we will continue to work with the government to implement effective incentives within the new Agriculture Bill.

As an industry we have proven that British farming can be a leading voice in the face of great political upheaval, extreme weather events and increasing climate challenges.

This is a time for us to be ambitious. This is a time for us to get in front of MPs and in front of the public like never before because we have a fantastic story to tell – from the value we put on animal welfare and environmental protection to the value we put on quality, nutritious, great tasting food.

So over the next year let’s show politicians, the supply chain and the public what they can gain from backing British farming and from investing in its future.

Minette Batters is the president of the NFU