The Presidents of the four UK farming unions have come together at the NFU Cymru Conference 2018 to underline their shared visions for the industry, and to call on politicians to mirror that level of ambition.
NFU Cymru President John Davies, NFU President Minette Batters, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick and Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ivor Ferguson took to the stage of the NFU Cymru ‘Welsh Farming: Ambition for Growth’ conference in Llandrindod Wells on Thursday 1st November as part of a session titled ‘UK: A nation united by farming’.
The session at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrinod Wells saw all four UK presidents speak of the importance of their regular meetings together and sharing the same values and ideals for the UK agricultural industry.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “Today we stand here as the four presidents of the UK farming unions presenting a united front on behalf of farmers from across the UK. The title for this year’s NFU Cymru Conference is ‘Ambition for Growth’, which is an apt title because together we are all committed to ensuring that our industry continues to grow and further improve on the unparalleled contribution farmers across Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland make to society economically, environmentally, socially and culturally.
“With less than 150 days before the UK leaves the European Union we are calling on politicians and negotiators from all sides to follow our lead and come together to work towards a solution that ensures we can continue to trade freely with our closest neighbours.”
NFU President Minette Batters said: “Coming together at today’s NFU Cymru Conference provides an important opportunity for the four UK unions to collaborate and further highlight our joint values; together we share a vision and ambition to drive our industry forward, capitalising on the opportunities that lie ahead and facing any challenges head on. At a time of such uncertainty, the bond and solidarity between the four UK farming unions has never been more important.
“As UK farmers we are united by the food that we produce. The pride held by every farmer in the UK when it comes to their role as food producers and putting food on people’s plates is something that brings us all together. As the UK’s impending departure from the European Union approaches, it is important that our politicians across all areas of the UK and the EU show that same level of vision and ambition – putting food at the centre of their plans and ambitions - to give UK farmers the platform to achieve and prosper in the future.”
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “We are a nation that is undergoing the biggest change in agriculture in more than 40 years. Never has it been more important for all the farmers to stand shoulder to shoulder to secure a profitable and sustainable future for our memberships across the UK. The four UK farming unions have, since 23 June 2016, shared common goals to ensure we deliver on this ambition.
“Coming together at Llandrindod Wells was another opportunity to build on our joint ambitions and also achieve a great understanding of how devolved parts of the UK can work effectively within this common framework to deliver the best possible outcomes for farming and the wider rural economy in our own respective countries.”
Ulster Farmers’ Union President Ivor Ferguson said: “We are now entering a time of unprecedented change which presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of agriculture in the United Kingdom. The UK farm unions collectively have a vision of a productive, progressive, sustainable and most importantly profitable farming sector and we want to work with the Government and other industry partners to realise this.
“At a UK level, key issues need more legal certainty. These include the standard of imported food, longer term funding for agriculture and the effective operation of the agri-food supply chain. It is also essential that future support arrangements must reflect final decisions on trade relationships with the EU-27 and the rest of the world,” added Mr Ferguson.