Farming chief seeks assurances from EU commissioner

National Farmers' Union president Meurig Raymond.  Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
National Farmers' Union president Meurig Raymond. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
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Britain’s farming union leader has written to the European Commissioner for Agriculture to call for his reassurance that schemes currently available to UK farmers remain open and in place until 2020.

Meurig Raymond, the president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said he had written to Irishman Phil Hogan today following initial talks held directly after Britain voted to leave the EU on Friday.

Pembrokeshire farmer Mr Raymond said: “Speaking with Commissioner Hogan, I outlined the need to secure the best possible access to markets in the rest of Europe. Although we will not be a member of the EU, it will still be our major trading partner for the foreseeable future.

“During the referendum period these schemes were assured until 2020 allowing for farm businesses to plan ahead. I have stressed the need for schemes, such as the Rural Development Scheme and the Basic Payment Scheme, to remain in place with the promised safeguards being made in the forthcoming period of negotiation.”

Meanwhile, Chris Mallon, chief executive of the National Beef Association, has urged Farming Minister George Eustice to rise to the challenge of preparing agriculture for life out of the EU. He said the Government has to commit to securing tariff-free access to the EU for all UK agricultural products, to ensure the sustainability of the rural economy.

An extraordinary meeting of NFU Council will be held in London on Friday when union officials will agree on the core principles that should to be adopted for farming in England and Wales.