The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) held a conference from the 21 – 22 of February 2017 outlining the effect Brexit will have on farming and what the UK has to do to keep it a successful business. Before this conference took place, the NFU led the biggest inquiry to date into British farmers’ concerns and the state of farming today in the UK. There are three majors issues that will be affecting farming in the UK post-Brexit that were outlined by the NFU president, Meurig Raymond, during that conference, ones that directly have to do with the arguments for leaving the EU.
The first one is that farmers have relied on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for subsidies for over 60 years and there are no current alternatives coming from the United Kingdom and its government to help farmers in the future. Additionally, the free-trade agreement that is currently in place with the EU is at threat and without it a major part of the industry would be out of work.
The second issue is that the agricultural industry in the UK heavily relies on migrant workers, especially for seasonal work. This relationship, according to the NFU, needs to continue in order for farms to be able to deliver their products in the UK and abroad.
The third concern is that new policies are being put into place, however these might threaten the standard at which British farms are currently producing their food. It is crucial to them to keep food at the standard that they have been producing it at, not only for environmental benefits but also economical ones.
In short, Meurig Raymond, in his speech asked for “certainty in the short term and confidence in the long term”.
In response, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom asked: “‘what kind of country do we want to be?’ And we must in turn ask the same question of farming – ‘what kind of industry do we want to be?’ And how do we devise a system of support that properly takes into account the diverse types of farming, and the challenges unique to each?’” These questions are not yet being answered, A is for Apple is a great opportunity to dwell on these issues of heritage, environment and farming.