With Britain currently negotiates the terms of its withdrawal from the EU, the leadership of the National Farming Union (NFU) feel the role of their organisation has never been more vital.
So says newly-elected NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw, who has laid out his key ambitions for the future of UK farming post Brexit.
Tom, 37, is a fourth generation arable farmer based at Fordham.
He feels food standards and a reliance on home-grown product must be at the core of the union’s message.
“We are proud of standards in the UK,” he said.
“We have some of the highest hygiene standards anywhere in the world, and the last thing we want is to undermine those standards by importing foods which do not meet them.”
For two years Mr Bradshaw worked as chairman of the union’s combinable crops board, campaigning to see the Government commit to a trade policy which does not undermine UK crop growers.
The union fears the efforts of farmers to become more climate friendly could be hampered by cheap imports of food produced using methods which are illegal in the UK.
It seeks legal guarantees that products including chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef will not be allowed into the UK under any future deal.
“This is our key battleground,” said Mr Bradshaw.
“We don’t know the importance of agriculture in trade talks, we cannot pretend it is the main driver but we have an opportunity to be world leaders in sustainable farming and to set the tone for future trade.
“It is a period of huge change but with change comes opportunity.
“We have very high standards, this is something the British customer understands and now is the opportunity to back UK farming.”
Mr Bradshaw hopes the UK farming industry can tap into technological advances in several fields including robotics.
“The Government has said it is committed to giving us access to new technology,” he said.
Source: The Gazette