Lincolnshire

Parliament must provide early answers for farmers on Brexit, says influential association

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Peers on an influential House of Lords Committee have been urged by CLA to provide early answers to some of the key questions surrounding Brexit for farmers and the rural economy.

As previously reported, the farming industry has three key focuses which need to be addressed including trade, labour and the future support mechanisms for the industry.

Around 12% of England’s food is produced within Lincolnshire, with more than 75,000 workers workers in agriculture, food production, farm equipment manufacturing, freezing, distribution, packaging and food import and export.

The county contributes nearly 13% of the county’s Gross Value Added (GVA), equating to more than £1.3 billion a year.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, gave evidence to the Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee on the implications of Brexit on February 1.

CLA Deputy President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Brexit can bring a range of new opportunities for farming including building exports for our products alongside continued access to existing markets and establishing a world leading agricultural policy that drives growth and productivity.”

“However, these opportunities will only be harnessed if businesses feel confident about the future direction of policy at an early stage in the process.

“We do not expect ministers to have all the answers at this stage but they must set a clear direction of travel on core issues.

“We can establish some robust objectives in UK trade policy for retaining and growing our markets in food and agricultural products.

“They can set out a clear commitment to establish a fully-funded replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy and provide a commitment that, in tandem with policy being developed, farmers will be able to attract the overseas workers they need here and now.

“The next step is then to focus on how to maximise the new opportunities that are presented by leaving the EU.”