The National Farmers’ Union of Scotland (NFUS) has said that the Red Tractor review recommendations should be accepted in full and addressed as a “matter of urgency”.

The review, commissioned by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and conducted by Campbell Tickell, was published yesterday (Monday, February 19).

The report makes recommendations to improve the governance of Red Tractor. It urges that, alongside governance changes, Red Tractor makes a sustained effort to communicate its purpose and engage further with scheme members.

Some of the review’s recommendations to Red Tractor include:

  • Create and publish of a governance handbook;
  • Introduce of a formal process of appraisal for Red Tractor board and committee members;
  • Develop and adopt of a board member code of conduct;
  • Address stakeholder engagement and relations as a priority.

NFUS president Martin Kennedy said: “We welcome the findings of the review and believe that the recommendations should be accepted in full and addressed as a matter of urgency by the Red Tractor board and leadership team.

“We specifically welcome the recognition that devolved policy and practice needs to be more explicitly recognised and embedded within the governance structures and this is something we will be pursuing with Red Tractor.  

“What has emerged through the review is some significant weaknesses in relation to stakeholder communications and relations and we believe the organisation must now seek to rebuild trust with the farming community across the UK, recognising that one of its original purposes was to add value to the producer.”

In light of this, Kennedy said NFUS believes that the proposed Greener Farm Commitment, as currently devised, needs a “complete rethink” in partnership with the farming community,.

This needs to be done to fully recognise the policy and regulatory environments across the devolved administrations, he said.

“The review presents an opportunity for Red Tractor to consider its future, addressing challenges such as devolved agricultural policy, and supply chain fairness, and ensuring that UK food production has a secure future, and we stand ready to support these efforts,” he said.

“And to rebuild trust in Red Tractor, we want to see a clear plan on how it will respond to the recommendations and restore farmer confidence in the scheme.”