The President, Meurig Raymond is said to be pleased that members have been keen to attend consultation meetings and have their say. He is now able to go to government with what he calls a “strong vision” for a resilient, competitive and profitable British farming industry outside the EU. I would have preferred that he replaced ‘vision’ with ‘non-negotiable action plan’. There is no point beating around the bush, or going cap in hand.
It is easy to forget that agriculture is the largest industry in this country. Ministers of every persuasion are always eager to fall over backwards to defend or support other industries. It is time that British food producers and related industries, which include amongst others chemicals, machinery, fertilisers, engineering, feed suppliers, flour producers, vetinary groups and medical, research and abattoirs, too many to mention, loomed higher on their radar. This industry is essential, it employs millions and the UK relies upon it for food security.
The key subjects reported to have been raised by farmers at the meetings were trade, labour, environment, competitiveness and regulation. I would hope that they also have on their list, research and development, relationships with Europe and the rest of the world, rather than the EU.
Supporting young people wishing to enter the industry, of which there are a shortage. Marketing and the thorny matter of how the UK government will support the industry and target the payments, without influencing rents demanded by landlords.
Tenant farmers have seen their rents escalate over the past 30 years, as landlords, often ill advised by land agents, set rent reviews to reflect CAP payments. This must change.
Above everything else the NFU must tell the government that we should embrace the opportunities which were not available to us while shackled to the EU. And there should be no hesitation about quitting the single market. Those who exaggerate its importance are mostly disgruntled ‘Remainiacs’, who are hoping by protracting negotiations regarding this matter and the issue of open borders, will delay Brexit indefinitely.
China and the USA have access to the single market, but they are not members. Why would any UK government wish to remain within the EU single market, which is the most unsuccessful economic zone in the world?
Great Britain before becoming engulfed by the EU traded globally - it is what we do. We have for too long been restricted by undemocratic rules, regulations and red tape while tied to Brussels. Following the Referendum the exit door is now open, we must not delay passing through it.
I wonder if the New Year Honours will include Nigel Farage in recognition of his successful campaign. I am no fan of UKIP or many of their policies, they have over the years split the vote, particular during the 2010 General Election, thus facilitating the Lib Dems to win seats. However, if it had not been for Nigel Farage, David Cameron would never have promised the Referendum in his 2015 manifesto.
It is the season of autumn colours and Harvest Festivals. Wivelsfield Church has had a particularly busy week, during which our new vicar the Rev Christopher Powell was installed by the Bishop of Horsham. The church was transformed with a most stunning Vintage Flower Festival, created by the church flower ladies, who worked tirelessly.
There was also a concert by the Sussex Police Choir on Saturday night, and the Harvest Festival on Sunday. Our new vicar has certainly hit the ground running to keep up with all these events, but on the positive side, he must have met at least half the village passing through the church for the various events, and many more coming from surrounding towns and villages. He and his family have been welcoming, and charmed everyone they met.