NFU welcomes ‘shared ambition’ with minister to maintain free trade with EU

NFU president Meurig Raymond and environment secretary Andrea Leadsom.

NFU president Meurig Raymond and environment secretary Andrea Leadsom. - Credit: Archant

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) stressed the “crucial role” of UK food production post-Brexit at a meeting with environment secretary Andrea Leadsom and farming minister George Eustice on Thursday.

NFU president Meurig Raymond welcomed assurances from Mrs Leadsom at the meeting that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is primed and ready for the complex negotiation once Article 50 is triggered next week.

“I am delighted that the DEFRA ministerial team shares our ambition to maintain free and open trade with the EU once we leave, and that they also acknowledge the need to ensure that future reforms to the immigration system accommodate the labour requirements of the food and farming sectors,” he said.

He also welcomed an “encouraging discussion” about the future of farm subsidies after 2020 to enable the sector to remain resilient.