the agricultural industry is in many respects the original Yorkshire powerhouse and the value of the contribution that farmers make to the economy of both this region, and Britain as a whole, must not be under-estimated.
Yet, according to a new survey, good farmland nationwide has not been used as effectively as it could have been for the past 15 years.
The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers has attributed this to the type of financial support paid out to farmers, claiming more land would have been let out if it was not for area-based subsidy payments that see farmers given cash for the size of their plots. The group’s secretary, Jeremy Moody, also says a decline in the length of farming tenancies appears to reflect the caution of landowners and prospective tenants about being committed to longer term arrangements “ahead of potential post-Brexit changes to trade and support”.
This is yet further reason why December’s general election must not just be about Brexit but about how the UK’s departure from the EU is actually delivered. This is key to the future of food and farming. Back in July, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted Britain’s farmers would have the support they need. “If their markets are going to be tricky, then we will help them to find new markets. We have interventions that are aimed to support their incomes,” he said.
However, for the farming heartlands facing another prolonged period of political uncertainty, soundbites and slogans are not enough. Support for agriculture post-Brexit means proper policy and ensuring that land in this county, and further afield, is put to best use.