UK farming report slammed by National Farmers Union

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

The CPRE was accused of not thinking about food security in its New model farming paper
The CPRE was accused of not thinking about food security in its New model farming paper

Related tags Agriculture Sustainability

Policy pressure group Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was criticised for not considering food security in its paper, ‘New model farming: resilience through diversity’, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The paper listed a number of policy changes that the CPRE wanted the government to implement in order to improve diversity, sustainability and resilience of the farming sector.

It also discussed its vision for UK agriculture once it leaves the EU.

Farmers currently receive subsidies and other payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – but will cease to get CAS funding once the UK leaves the EU.

The ‘New model farming’ paper argued that a more diverse sector would create a more resilient future that offered rewards beyond food: beautiful landscapes, clean water, abundant wildlife, better flood management and improved carbon storage.

Public investment in farming

A post-Brexit settlement along these lines would make clearer the public benefits of huge public investment in farming, according to the CPRE.

The NFU slammed ideas that its members were not doing enough to safeguard the future of British farming.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “Our 47,000 farmer members represent a diverse industry dedicated to feeding the nation and play a part in feeding the world, working with the natural environment – not against it.

“Our vision is for a dynamic productive and innovative food and farming sector, which is committed to delivering improvements in health, wealth and environment for the British public. 

‘Food security’

“Missing from the CPRE’s vision is food security which, in our view, should be considered to be a legitimate political goal and public good alongside the environment.”

The paper also suggested that farming had become more industrialised over the years and as such was stripping away the abundance of natural life from the soil and countryside.

Raymond said: “CPRE’s suggestion that ‘industrialised’ farming has damaged its natural assets is a dated viewpoint and not one the NFU recognises.”

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