National Farmers' Union Scotland (NFUS) president, Andrew McCornick, has confirmed he will take part in a seminal panel discussion on the future of food, farming and the rural economy post-Brexit.

The NFUS president is set to speak as part of a panel alongside James Withers, chief executive, Scotland Food and Drink; Robert Graham, managing director, Graham's Family Dairies; and Jim Fairlie owner, The Kitchen Farmer.

The event, which will take place on Monday, July 16, at 7:00pm in United Auctions Stirling, will be chaired by Mark Stephen of BBC Radio Scotland show Out of Doors.

Brexit challenges

McCornick will focus on the key elements of NFU Scotland's proposals for a future agriculture policy as set out in its discussion document, Steps to Change.

He will also highlight the union's other red lines regarding friction-free trade, protection of high standards of production, and an immigration system that works for all parts of the industry.

“NFU Scotland has welcomed the progress that appeared to have been made after the Chequers meeting last week,” said McCornick.

The fact that the agreed negotiating stance seemed to strongly recognise the unique requirements of the agri-food sector is testament to the strong lobbying NFUS and others have done on this issue.

“However, the chaotic political process which has since overshadowed the Chequers agreement focuses the mind on how far we still have to go in convincing our political decision-makers on getting the right deal for our sector.

'The biggest challenge in our history'

“Brexit presents the biggest challenge that the union and its members have faced in its 105-year history, but I am committed to ensuring that opportunities are taken to genuinely drive our industry forward.

“A large part of this will be re-drawing and re-balancing and a bold new Scottish agricultural policy, which makes Scottish agriculture productive, innovative, and above all, profitable - whilst also delivering a wide range of public and environmental benefits that are the co-products of active farming and crofting.

With Scottish Government consulting on its future plans for agricultural policy as we speak, this panel discussion comes at an opportune moment.

“Scottish farmers and crofters are the bedrock of Scotland's booming food and drinks industry, which is a prime mover in our country's economic prosperity.  At the same time, agricultural businesses are key to maintaining and enhancing Scotland's unique environment and landscapes.

“I encourage NFU Scotland members to come along, ask questions, and feed in views to this important discussion.”

This is a free event; however, prior registration is needed.