The interests of UK farmers are best served by the UK continuing its membership with the EU, according to the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

Yesterday, the NFU Council met to discuss its position on the Brexit referendum, which takes place on June 23, 2016.

The NFU has said that it recognises and respects the diversity of views among its membership and that its position is based solely on an evaluation of the agricultural merits of the case and the NFU is fully aware there are many wider issues at stake.

A statement from the UK farming body said that it will not be actively campaigning in the referendum; it will not be joining with any campaign groups and it will not, in any circumstances, advise its members how to vote.

However, the NFU has said that it is the case that the Electoral Commission rules governing the referendum in effect mean that the NFU will be required to register to enable it to continue to carry out its essential role of informing members of the issues as they affect farmers.

The NFU Council resolves that on the balance of existing evidence available to us at present, the interests of farmers are best served by our continuing membership of the European Union.

Whether the vote is to stay or to leave, the NFU has said that it will always lobby to obtain the best possible deal for British farmers.

Yesterday's vote by the NFU Council looked at key issues for UK farmers including the implications for agricultural trade with the EU and the rest of the world.

It also looked at the balance of risks of a national farm policy versus the CAP as well as the potential impacts for the wider food chain.