‘What does Brexit mean for farmers?’

On Tuesday 2 October, the APPG for Farming hosted an event at Conservative Party Conference to discuss what Brexit really means for the future success of the farming industry.

The event, hosted in the PLMR Business Hub during Conference, included a strong representation from sector and parliamentary experts and public opinion analysists.

Panellists included:

  • Julian Sturdy MP, Chair of the APPG for Farming
  • George Eustice MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
  • Laura Townsend, Campaigns Director, 38 Degrees
  • Tim Breitmeyer, CLA President
  • Neil Carmichael, Secretariat for the APPG for Farming

This discussion provided an opportunity for those in the room to define what the farming sector needs following Brexit, how current and future policy will shape this, and what the public opinion on farming really suggests. It was clear that there is a need for connectivity and support from the Government, so farmers can thrive in their communities.

Overarching themes from the discussion includes:

  • There is no longer a ‘comfort blanket’ of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as suggested by Neil Parish MP, so there is a distinct need for an annual national policy that provides us with clarity and certainty to be able to invest in our businesses moving forward.

 

  • Farming must be discussed as an entity to society that isn’t just for the means of production but is actually a way to look after the environment.

 

  • 66 per cent of the public said that farmers taking measures to protect the environment should receive more government funding than those who don’t; 91 per cent of farmers agreed, referenced by Laura Townsend from 38 Degrees.

 

  • Neil Parish suggests that there is a need to look at a new system of making payments towards the environment and towards stewardship schemes and maintaining a countryside that is farmed.

 

  • The APPG for Farming has collectively offered its support to the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) as it believes the public goods model is the most effective way to keep £3.2bn in the industry.

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