HEREFORDSHIRE farmers heard that the NFU has called on the Government to protect British farming standards and give industry assurances in the wake of Brexit.

Around 100 farmers heard from NFU president Minette Batters this month at Alexander Park in Ledbury.

She discussed the Agriculture Bill, future of farming in the county and other sector issues as part of the Herefordshire NFU annual open meeting.

She also held talks with around 30 next-generation farmers beforehand, to discuss NFU campaigning and ask them about their own hopes for their farming futures.

Mrs Batters said Herefordshire farmers produced quality, traceable and affordable food to rigorous standards, alongside delivering for the environment, and the Government needed to provide clarity and assurances to allow farmers to plan for the future.

Farmers heard the NFU was working across many policy fronts; including agri-environment, plant and animal health, basic payments, rural crime prevention, but the Agriculture Bill needed focus as policy decisions made now would be far reaching in the years ahead.

The meeting was told the union had focused on key Brexit areas such as domestic support, international trade, access to labour and regulation ahead of the EU withdrawal.

Mrs Batters said: “The NFU continues to urge Government to protect our standards and maintain the high levels of trade in agricultural goods between the UK and the EU, our largest export market.

“Farming needs to be on the face of the Agriculture Bill, we need political acknowledgement on standards and that food imported is produced to the same standards we have here.

“We also need a commitment on a multi-annual budget, on promoting domestic food production and measures to help farmers better manage risk and volatility especially at times of poor market returns.”

The meeting heard a comprehensive food strategy post Brexit, which sets out a collaborative vision of the future of food in Britain, was also needed.

Mrs Batters said: “We want a progressive food and farming industry underpinned by four work streams, the key areas are moral imperative, health and nutrition, integrity and standards and working with nature – delivering for all corners of society while fulfilling our moral obligations in a global economy and a changing world.”

She said Herefordshire farmers, industry and decision makers needed to work together to seize the opportunities and strive for a future united by food and she urged Herefordshire farmers to continue to lobby MPs.