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UK: Harper Adams students discuss the future of food and farming post-Brexit with NFU Vice President:
"Brexit is a greater issue for the younger generation"Balancing food and environmental needs, maintaining the flow of migrant workers to provide labour for fresh produce farms, and greater pride in British produce were just three key topics raised in a round-table discussion about Britain’s future outside the European Union.
The discussion, involving Harper Adams University students and Guy Smith, the Vice President of the NFU, aimed to look past the arguments for and against Brexit. Instead it sought the younger generation’s view of the implications of Brexit and creating a viable domestic agricultural policy.
Launching the discussion, Guy Smith said: “Brexit is a greater issue for the younger generation. Decisions being made now could colour the political framework for a generation, making it more pertinent for you than me.”
“We’ve got to be positive about our future. It’s an enormous challenge, but we mustn’t be intimidated or cowed by the enormity of the situation.”
“Lots of events are going to occur over the next two years as we negotiate our leaving terms, and so the NFU is going to have to be fast-footed and agile to react to them.”
Mr Smith began by raising a few key points: “Firstly, the possibility of access to British markets being given to overseas farmers in order to have lower-priced products, despite these countries potentially having less regulation on farming than in Britain, making it unfair competition.”
“Secondly,” he added, “farmers are part of the largest sector of the British economy – the food sector. If agricultural production was exported, then other parts of that industry could also be exported.”
Student Helen Brown, BSc (Hons) Agriculture with Crop Management, asked about the future of pesticide legislation. “If we make it harder for companies to bring pesticides into the UK, are they going to bother? Also, are our farmers going to have access to products that those in other countries do?” she asked.
Mr Smith admitted the question was on his mind too: “It is really complicated. You’re right that the legislation presently comes from Brussels, but we currently have the ability to inform the debate with science and to argue our case for local solutions.”
Click here for the complete news article on the meeting at the website of Harper Adams University
Publication date: 1/11/2017
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