THE vice president of the National Farmers’ Union makes a crucial point when he urges members to take part in the Government’s consultation on the post-Brexit future of agriculture.
As Stuart Roberts says, the transition from the Common Agricultural Policy as Britain leaves the EU presents opportunities, challenges and risks in equal measure for a vital industry which does need, out of necessity, to plan ahead.
However, while Michael Gove is proving to be an innovative Defra Secretary, he does need to remember that long-term food production must not be compromised by the Government’s new emphasis on the environment.
Yet, while many are naturally sceptical of politicians and officialdom, they do need to participate in consultations, and discussions, if they want to influence debate. They can’t sit on the sidelines – and then complain when Defra, or others, do introduce changes which are not to their liking.
That said, Yorkshire’s food and farming sector is the most dynamic in the country. Its reputation for excellence is unrivalled. And farmers, traditionalists at heart, have embraced technological change. Nevertheless the challenges facing their sector were significant before Brexit, hence all the more reason for farmers to make sure that their voice is heard loud and clear in this key period.