Farming organisations have largely welcomed the Windsor Framework, the replacement of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was announced yesterday (Monday, February 27).

However, many have raised issues and concerns surrounding the specifications and finer details of what the deal means for the movement of livestock and veterinary medicines, as well as the broader agricultural sector.

President of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, David Brown, said the union and its members “commend the substantial efforts” of the UK and the EU in reaching a solution on the issue, but that more clarity is needed from an agricultural perspective.

“Issues such as livestock movements, veterinary medicines, plant protection products and grain for livestock feed still require a technical solution,” he said.

“Through improved engagement and constructive discussions, we want to see solutions found that deliver for those impacted by these challenges.”

President of the National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS), Martin Kennedy, echoed these concerns, saying the union was enquiring as to whether the movement of livestock is covered by the ‘green lane’ plan.

President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), Malcolm Morley, said there was “still more to do” to ensure the long-term access to vet medicines for Northern Ireland.

This concern was also raised by the National Office for Animal Health (NOAH), who said the specific issue of continued access to veterinary medicines in Northern Ireland remains, as “no change has been made” in relation to them.

Dawn Howard, chief executive of NOAH, said: “With animal disease knowing no borders, a collective approach to One Health and innovation, such as reopening Horizon funding access to UK projects and expertise, will benefit us all.

“And ensuring Northern Irish animals continue to be able to access the full range of veterinary medicines to prevent and treat disease is an important piece in protecting the health of the animals and people across the UK and Ireland, and throughout Europe and the world.”

GB trade difficulties

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) welcomed the deal, but highlighted the need for a similar agreement with the EU that would benefit the businesses in the rest of Great Britain – including farmers.

President of the union Glyn Roberts said the Windsor Framework is a positive outcome from the talks, but that more needs to be done to improve trade efficiency between Great Britain and the EU.

“The paperwork that existed for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been removed by the Windsor Framework but the very same paperwork continues to add costs and complexity to our trade with the EU,” he said.

“So, whilst we are fully supportive of the Windsor Framework, we need the same pragmatic approach to the rest of our trade with the EU.

“This agreement provides a solid foundation for further talks to this end.”

All unions said they would continue to study the complexities of the deal’s text to ensure it delivers on its aims.