The four UK farming unions agreed that ensuring access to labour and creating domestic farm policies that work for farmers are key areas to collaborate on in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The farming union presidents from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland met on Monday, August 1 to discuss future farm policies and possible obstacles the industry will face following the Brexit vote.
The farming leaders agreed their organisations must be the focal point for cross-border co-operation and that farmers must get clarity over the UK’s exit from the EU.
The agriculture industry has huge potential, but the coming months and years are vitally important to develop the right policies that enable the industry to prosper, according to Ulster Farmer's Union president Barclay Bell.
Speaking on behalf of the union presidents, Bell said the UK farming unions are committed to providing a united front for the 76,000 farm businesses the four unions represent and the 460,000 people who work on farms across the UK.
“The working areas we’ve just identified are the building blocks to the strong, collective and influential voice that we want to achieve for the industry.
In the unchartered waters that our government finds itself, we want to be the consistent, reliable and representative body to look to for expertise in these working areas.
"We believe this will provide us with the best chances of working with Government departments on the policies that will impact UK agriculture," Bell said.
Agriculture is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry worth £108 billion and the presidents of the farming unions have made it their mission to ensure that this value is matched with an ambition to shape a profitable, productive and progressive future for food production.