Agriculture is inextricably woven into the fabric of Yorkshire with God’s Own County producing more food than any other, powering the British food and drink sector, contributing significantly to the national economy.
That both the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, and industry leaders are warning a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for British farming should ring alarm bells with warring politicians.
Speaking at the annual National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Conference yesterday, Mr Gove urged farmers to lobby their MPs forcefully to ensure they hear that our leaving the European Union without a deal would bring ‘significant costs to our economy - and in particular to farming and food production.’
His concern was echoed by NFU president Minette Batters who warned that in the event of a no deal scenario, high export tariffs could effectively mean there is no market for 4.5 million lambs, decimating farms across the country.
With less than six weeks to go until March 29, both Mr Gove and the union leader warn of being left in limbo. He says there is currently no guarantee that Britain will be able to export food to the EU in the case of no deal, whilst the NFU president claims it is “absolutely shocking” that it is still not clear to farmers what trade conditions they would be operating in.
Mr Gove says it is ‘critically important’ that every Parliamentarian who will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the coming weeks understands what the consequences would be for British farmers and food producers. He is right.
In fact, MPs must carefully consider what is at stake for all industries in this country before voting on Brexit with the best interests of the UK’s future in mind. In particular, the concerns of farmers cannot be ignored, for this crucial part of the economy must not be put in jeopardy.