WEEKEND WEB: Will Gove be good for farmers?
Farmer RICHARD BARLOW considers the future for farmers post-Brexit
The importance of the NFU to the farming industry is possibly greater now than at any time in its history.
Brexit means the whole future of farming is up for negotiation. Having a strong single body to represent farming means we are able to challenge some of the more “wacky” proposals being put forward by some of the single issue “green” pressure groups that think they know better than farmers how to manage our countryside.
Michael Gove, is obviously an intelligent and ambitious Secretary of State, responsible for the environment, food and rural affairs. Whether he will be good for farming is yet to be seen. The correct decisions are not always the most popular, but will his pursuit of higher office mean he takes the populist route too often?
He has said that decisions on farming methods need to be science based (contrary to many agricultural decisions coming out of the EU). He is using science in his support for the continued use of glyphosate (Roundup), but last week went the populist route with agreeing to ban neonicotinoids in seed dressings, even on non-flowering crops. Sugar beet is going to be seriously compromised, and much more damaging crop spraying with non-specific insecticides will be the result.
Mr Gove is currently drafting a new Agriculture Bill, which will set the direction that farming goes after the March 29, 2019. The NFU has produced a series of comprehensive papers on how they see the government can legislate to the benefit of farmers, consumers and the environment post Brexit. Their thoroughness must have an influence on the mandarins in DEFRA! Though not for “bedtime” reading, they should be an essential study for those setting their own business goals.
Membership of the NFU in South Lincolnshire is high. We are fortunate to have such a powerful lobbying body representing us and they deserve the support of all farmers.