The NFU is urging MPs to recognise the importance of Britain’s high farming standards. It wants an assurance that they will not be sacrificed by the UK’s future trade policy.
The message was delivered during one of the first receptions to be staged for politicians by the NFU following the General Election.
MPs from across the political spectrum attended the reception, along with peers, industry representatives and civil servants, to meet with the NFU and hear its priorities for the coming parliament. The event was staged at the farming union’s Westminster office.
Minette Batters, the NFU’s president, welcomed Defra Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and her ministerial team back to their posts and paid tribute to the shadow Defra team members who lost their seats in the election.
Mrs Batters said: “In this parliament, we will see new legislation that will impact British farming for years to come. These will be landmark moments that will affect us all. For our economy, our health and our environment, there is nothing more important than the food we eat and for me, food and farming standards sit at the heart of everything.
“I have been clear that we must value our high farming standards and not sacrifice them in future trade deals, in favour of imports of food produced to standards that would be illegal in the UK. Our food values of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety must be central to everything from agricultural policy to trade policy.”
Commission proposed to protect farming standards
She added: “This is why I have been calling continually for the Government to introduce a trade and standards commission that can advise the Government on future trade agreements and also scrutinise the negotiations to ensure our high farming standards are not undermined by substandard imports.
“The Government now has a fantastic opportunity to make British agriculture a global leader in producing the most sustainable and climate-friendly food in the world, which can be valued at home and abroad. It is absolutely vital that politicians from all parties work to achieve these goals and ensure we have a thriving agriculture in Britain.”