The CLA has welcomed a report by an influential Committee of MPs urging Ministers to provide more details on its plans for transition and key reassurances on how budgets will be ringfenced to support farming through Brexit and for a reasonable period beyond.
The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee has made this call following an Inquiry to which the CLA submitted extensive evidence. Chairman of the Committee and Devon MP Neil Parish also stressed the importance of policy that supports the domestic production of healthy food.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Brexit brings major opportunities for positive change in farming, but success depends on a carefully planned transition. We are pleased MPs have added their voice to our call for Government to focus on a plan for boosting farm profitability. Getting this aspect of post-Brexit right must be considered to be a vital precondition of any moves to remove the basic payment system with a clear strategy, worked up and funding allocated.
“The Committee provides a timely reminder that production of healthy food is, and must remain, the most important land use in our countryside. A dynamic, progressive and sustainable farming industry can work alongside significant improvements in our environmental delivery, and a vision for a long-term policy to replace the Common Agricultural Policy must have sustaining this balance as its overriding objective.
The Committee also warned about the risks of reducing of animal welfare standards to accommodate rushed free trade deals.
Mr Breitmeyer continued: “The Committee is right to warn of the risks of rushed free trade deals with new markets that result in an overall lessening in our world-leading standards of animal welfare. Our trade policy must be based on encouraging other markets to meet our high standards, and not turning a blind eye to lower standards on food imported from less well-regulated markets.”