The four UK farming unions have joined forces to emphasise the necessity of forging a new partnership with the EU and cooperating on issues such as trade, food safety, and science and innovation.
The British Agriculture Bureau (BAB), which represents the NFU Scotland, the NFU, the NFU Cymru, and the Ulster Farmers Union in Brussels, has been relaunched with a new logo and the publication of a new report titled “Building our New Relationship with Europe,” promising to continue to represent more than 70,000 UK farmers on the European stage.
While the approach taken by the country’s politicians and policy-makers may have differed, the presidents of the UK’s four farming unions stressed the importance of maintaining links with Europe, saying that while the needs of farmers across Europe remained aligned and continued to offer opportunities to support and learn from one another.
The presidents also stated that remaining a member of Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella farming union body, was a top priority for all four farming unions in order to ensure that expertise and information would continue to be shared.
“World-class food production must remain at the heart of everything we do,” the presidents stated.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and the nature of that job is changing all the time. Farmers in the United Kingdom are committed to working together on a national and worldwide level to embrace and follow the latest research and innovation, to seek new trading opportunities, and to uphold our high standards.”
The unions stated that they were dedicated to assisting British farmers in being able to do so in Europe, as well as to forging a new partnership with the EU by keeping the BAB office in Brussels open and preserving ties with European producers.
The research emphasised the importance of maintaining trade and standards, as well as the need for UK trade policy to respect domestic production standards and sustain a robust, competitive agriculture sector.
On research and innovation, the report stated that in order to stimulate innovation and increase competitiveness, policy must be science and evidence-based, with proportionate, risk-based approaches.
It also stated that increased production from more effective and judicious use of natural resources might cut farming’s emissions and environmental footprint – but only if farmers are given the policy framework they need to adapt and survive.
Evidence should be at the heart of any policy changes, rather than emotional assertions from lobbying groups, in animal health and welfare research.
“Animal welfare legislation in the United Kingdom is quite comprehensive, and our manufacturing costs are sometimes higher than those of many other major exporting countries.” As a result, agricultural enterprises must be supported in order to remain productive and competitive on a global scale, ensuring that high standards are maintained and enhanced.”