CLA reaction to Defra Secretary speech to the National Farmers Union conference

20 February 2018

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: "This latest statement shows how much the Government is embracing our vision for a policy based on supporting profitable food production and rewarding farmers for the public benefit they deliver. It's a model that will transform the relationship between the public and the farmers who deliver so much that we want from our countryside, in addition to high quality food.

"We have been clear from the outset that under this policy 'public benefit' extends far beyond commonly understood environmental features to vital services like rewarding high animal welfare standards, caring for the nation's soil, supporting the continuation of heritage farming communities and managing the countryside for all.

"By confirming this today the Secretary of State has laid the foundations for a policy approach that is genuinely transformational. lt gives our generation the chance to ensure a profitable and sustainable future for farming, and to protect and enhance our environment, our landscapes, and our rural economy for the long term.

"The hard work now begins to decide the details of this policy, to dedicate sufficient funding to realise the vision, and to agree a transition that allows farmers the time and certainty to adapt and evolve their businesses to take advantage of the opportunities this new policy will provide. This must include recognition that support is needed to enable farming businesses to invest in technology that will help increase productivity.

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s emphasis on the importance of the Food and Drink Council in developing an integrated Farm to Fork supply chain to deliver greater productivity and profitability, improved training and marketing opportunities.”