NFU President Stephen James, NFU Deputy President Minette Batters, NFU Cymru Glamorgan County Chair
Abi Reader and HSBC Regional Agriculture Director Euryn Jones
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters has told Glamorgan farmers that the industry must ‘show its worth’ during the Government’s Brexit negotiations.
Speaking to NFU Cymru members at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, Mrs Batters said that farmers had to continue promoting the positives of British agriculture, most notably high levels of traceability and world-leading animal health and welfare standards.
She told the meeting: “Brexit means that we’re not going to have the trade deal that we had before. If we don’t have a deal and we’re on WTO rules we will probably have tariffs that could price us out of the marketplace. The Prime Minister has been very clear that the Single Market is off of the table and the UK Government is looking to strike a bespoke deal.
“We pride ourselves on our quality food production and high animal welfare standards and we want these qualities to be recognised in any future trade agreements. Food security is so important to us all – we do not want to be disadvantaged by imports that do not meet our own exacting standards. There are real challenges and we have to make the case for what we do.”
“I think we’re in a good place now where the word ‘farm’ is being embraced. Every single piece of survey work that we conduct shows that farmers’ popularity with the public is growing year on year and that people want to buy Welsh and British food. We’ve come a long way and this is our chance to sell our story and we must grab it with both hands.”
During her talk, Mrs Batters also spoke about the need for a domestic agriculture policy in Wales that reflected the unique challenges faced by Welsh farmers. She said: “We cannot take a blanket approach to a UK agricultural policy. We can have a UK framework where we jointly agree some high level principles, but we have a different government in Wales and NFU Cymru is here to represent the interests of Wales’ farmers and make sure that any policy is fit for purpose.”
Abi Reader, NFU Cymru Glamorgan County Chair, said: “We would like to thank Minette for taking the time out of her busy schedule to provide us all with an enthralling talk on the issues that matter most to us all – trade, labour, future agricultural policies and bovine TB. Those topics sparked some lively debate and it’s great to see that we have so much passion among the membership in the county.”
NFU Cymru would like to thank HSBC for sponsoring its series of 11 annual conferences around Wales.