UK farmers united with Europe in working together

Despite the UK’s exit from the EU, it has never been more important for farmers across Europe to work together in order to take a collective approach to challenges on a global scale.

The four UK farming unions have moved to highlight the importance of building a new relationship with the EU and working collaboratively on areas such as trade, food standards, and science and innovation.


And the British Agriculture Bureau (BAB) - the office which collectively represents the NFU Scotland, NFU, NFU Cymru, and the Ulster Farmers Union in Brussels - has been relaunched with a new logo and the publication of a new report ‘Building our new relationship with Europe’, promising to continue to represent more than 70,000 UK farmers on the European stage.


Stressing the importance of maintaining links with Europe, presidents of the UK’s four farming union said that while the approach taken by the country’s politicians and policy-makers might have differed, it was clear that the needs of farmers across Europe remained aligned and continued to offer opportunities to support and learn from one another.


And the presidents said that all four farming unions had prioritised remaining part of the umbrella farming union body, Copa-Cogeca, to ensure that experience and knowledge would continue to be shared.


“World leading food production must continue to be at the heart of everything we do” said the presidents.


“We have a huge amount of work ahead of us, and the nature of that work is evolving. UK farmers are committed to working together, at both a national and international level, to embrace and follow the latest science and innovation, to seek new trading opportunities and defend our high standards.”


The unions said that they were committed to supporting British farmers to be able to do this in Europe and to building a new relationship with the EU by maintaining the BAB office in Brussels and maintaining links with European producers.


The report highlighted the fact that trade and standards had to be maintained and that UK trade policy needed to respect domestic production standards and support a strong, competitive agricultural industry.


On science and innovation – the report said that policy must be science and evidence led with proportionate, risk-based approaches to encourage innovation and improve competitiveness.


It also claimed that improvements in productivity through more efficient and careful use of natural resources could reduce farming’s emissions and environmental footprint – but added that this would only happen if farm businesses were given the policy framework they need to adapt and thrive.


Animal health and welfare research should also retain evidence at the core of the any changes to policy, rather than reactions to emotional claims from lobbying groups.


“UK animal welfare legislation is extremely comprehensive and our costs of production often more expensive than that many other major exporting countries. It is, therefore, imperative that farm businesses are supported to remain productive and competitive on an international level to ensure high standards are maintained and augmented.”


Source: The Scotsman