Farming News - Gove vows to protect high farming standards as part of a Green Brexit

Gove vows to protect high farming standards as part of a Green Brexit

19 Feb 2019
Frontdesk / Arable / Livestock
The Environment Secretary will welcome the NFU President’s vision for industry and Government to work together to maintain high standards of British food production as the UK leaves the European Union.
 
Speaking at the NFU Conference today, Michael Gove will reaffirm that the UK’s high standards will not be compromised “in pursuit of trade deals” and will look to work with the sector to enhance standards even further. This includes working with the NFU to build a consensus around  how to uphold high standards on the environment, food safety and animal welfare outside the EU.
 
Ahead of a Government announcement later this month on tariffs in a no deal scenario, the Environment Secretary will also say that the needs of British farmers and food producers will be taken into account to minimise the risk of being left at a “competitive disadvantage”. He will pledge to “use the tools” at the Government’s disposal to make sure standards and the sector are protected.
 
Addressing NFU members in Birmingham today, the Environment Secretary will also:
  • Address the challenges for the industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit, including the significant impact on upland farmers and the trade in sheep meat and beef. He will set out how the disruption caused by no-deal will impact small businesses the most, and set out what the Government is doing to mitigate the impact of leaving without a deal.
  • Reiterate his support for the Brexit deal, which already holds out the prospect of tariff and quota-free access to the European market, with the flexibility to operate wholly outside of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and avoid the disruption of a no deal.
  • Praise the farming initiative Febru-dairy for highlighting the important work of British livestock and dairy farmers. He will highlight the importance of high quality meat, milk and cheese which provides us with the protein, calcium, vitamins and other minerals for a healthy diet. The Environment Secretary will commit to defending British livestock and dairy farmers from activists who would undermine their work.
  • Highlight the achievements of Minette Batters in her first year as NFU President. He will commend Ms Batters for what she has achieved for the farming sector, including working with the Government on important amendments to the Agriculture Bill, championing a new Livestock Information Programme, and helping to initiate a new National Food Strategy. In particular, he will welcome the NFU’s vision on the environment and food, which recognises that it is not the case that one can only be achieved at the expense of the other.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove will say:
 
“Already, the Agriculture Bill creates new powers to improve the functioning of the supply chain, support farmers through volatile times, safeguard producer organisations and guarantee new sources of income for future business. And we are in discussion about how to go further to support sustainable food production and protect our high standards in a competitive trading environment.
 
“We have been clear that we will not lower our standards in pursuit of trade deals, and that we will use the tools we have at our disposal - tariffs, quotas and legislation - to make sure standards are protected and you are not left at a competitive disadvantage.
 
“That is why I welcome Minette’s call to establish a Commission to examine how we can maintain high standards. This is an idea which has a number of merits and we will be giving it full consideration.”
 
The Secretary of State’s speech at the NFU Conference will be live-streamed from 10.45am. Details on how to stream the speech can be found at: https://www.nfuonline.com/news/nfu-conference-2019/nfu-conference-2019-key-content/nfu19-watch-live-here/