Our food and farming industry is nationally important, generating over £108 billion a year for the UK economy and employing one in eight people. It is particularly important for our most rural areas where farming is often central to the economic and social life of the community as well as playing a vital role in conservation.
The UK produces some of the best food in the world, with the highest animal welfare and husbandry standards. Our new relationship with the EU, and any new trade deals with non-EU countries, must protect these standards and allow our produce to be promoted globally and compete on the basis of quality.
The agricultural sector also underpins much of our tourism industry in rural areas. Whether providing land and water for enjoyment, food for the table, or accommodation from which to explore our unique landscapes. We must champion our farmers and celebrate their contribution to the British landscape and economy. This would not only benefit the industry, but also increase visitor numbers and stimulate the wider economy.
Educating people, particularly the young, about food and farming and countryside management is essential. It is surprising how many people do not understand farming or gamekeeping practices and the vital role they play in maintaining a well-managed countryside.
Leaving the EU provides the opportunity to develop an agricultural policy that is appropriate for the UK, targeting support payments for the public good provided by farmers. It also provides the opportunity that consumers have the ability and confidence to support British farmers and producers.