News
14th Mar

2019

TFA Media Release MR19/10 – Post Brexit Policy for Agriculture Must Be Better Not Just Different

***EMBARGOED UNTIL 0:01 ON THURSDAY 14 MARCH 2019***

The Tenant Farmers Association’s (TFA’s), National Chairman, James Gray, warns that we must not waste the opportunity afforded by Brexit to put in better policies for food, farming and the countryside.

Speaking at the TFA’s AGM in London, James Gray said, “As we move away from membership of the European Union it is vital that we do so in a way which seeks to build a positive future for food, farming and the countryside without unnecessarily demonising the policies of the past.  Not all our woes can be placed at the door of the Common Agricultural Policy.  It is often the case that it is the way domestic Governments have decided to implement aspects of the CAP that have caused the most problems rather than the parent policy itself”.

“Since the EU referendum the TFA has been working collaboratively with the UK Government, the Devolved Administrations and other stakeholders to ensure that we are able to put in place sustainable policies for food farming and the environment which create resilient, profitable businesses working to high standards of food quality, environmental management and animal welfare.  We need to use the current opportunity to develop bespoke policies which better fit our national circumstances and priorities,” said Mr Gray.

However, he warned that many farm businesses are working hard, doing the right thing by the environment, animal welfare and local communities, for whom the Basic Payment Scheme represents the difference between financial security and bankruptcy.

“Simply removing direct payments without significantly adjusting other policy areas will be a recipe for disaster.  It is essential that the Government takes a systems approach to policy and does not consider individual aspects in separate silos.  The Basic Payment Scheme may be a blunt instrument, but it is not without its merits in providing much-needed support for businesses who are unable to attract a sufficient return from the marketplace which is stacked against them,” said Mr Gray.

The TFA supports the Government’s intention to bring forward a new policy framework which bolsters farm productivity whilst providing support for farmers to deliver public goods but stresses that this must be focused on active farmers.

“Any new financial assistance must only be made available to individuals who are operating units which are predominantly agricultural in nature.  Payments must be directed towards those individuals in occupation of the land used for farming, taking the entrepreneurial risk for the business decisions made and in day to day management control of the land,” said Mr Gray.

Ref:  MR19/10                                                               Date: 14 March 2019

 

Notes for Editors:

For further information contact Julia Meadows on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

 

 

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