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    Eight immediate policy priorities for new NFU
14/03/06

Peter Kendall, President of the NFU, today announced his immediate policy priorities for the coming months at a press conference in London.

Peter Kendall
Peter Kendall

Speaking at his first press conference since his election in February, Mr Kendall outlined the attitude, priorities and vision of the new officer holder team, which includes Meurig Raymond (Deputy President) and Paul Temple (Vice President).

He said: “We’re looking forward to a new era in farming - one which is positive and profitable. Last week’s announcement of the lifting of the beef embargo was the best news we’ve had as an industry for a decade. Let’s make it a turning point for us.

“Our immediate policy priorities are:

Single Farm Payment
We want farmers to start building for the future but they are still wading through paperwork at a time when they should be moving on. We have a number of major concerns- one is that the process will continue to drag on; confusion and lack of clarity over the rules; how fruit and vegetable growers will be treated; trading difficulties and the risk that the 2006 process will get off on the wrong foot. The NFU will do everything possible to get cash to farmers.

Rural Development
The English programme for 2007-13 has to be submitted by June. We are working quickly to refine our priorities, in the light of new funding arrangements. Hill farming payments are a priority for us.

Match funding
It is vital that we achieve a commitment to future match funding of rural development, in order to minimize modulation.

TB
We are working for a genuine partnership and a fair package, including valuations, pre-movement testing and eradication of all sources of infection.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones
The imminent consultation on a revised action programme is a vital issue for many farmers, particularly dairy farmers.

Supply chain imbalance
The announcement of another OFT enquiry is welcome, but the remit seems too narrow, and we must beware that the enquiry (which is likely to last two years) is not used as an excuse for inaction. We need to attack this problem from many angles, not just the statutory route.

Renewable energy
We will be looking to the budget announcement on March 22 for further progress on biofuels and biomass.

Avian Influenza
So far we have avoided the disease, we have not suffered too much from scare-mongering and consumption has held up. But we have suffered the knock-on consequences of the export bans on France, and falls in consumption on the continent. Action at EU level is almost certainly required.”

Mr Kendall and the office holder team also developed eight key priorities which they hope will form the backbone of a policy and business plan for the NFU.

The eight principles drawn up by the team are:

  • Presenting a positive image of modern agriculture.
  • Working for profitable production in agriculture and horticulture
  • Differentiating British products
  • Removing discrimination against British farmers wherever it may occur
  • Working towards a properly functioning and transparent food chain.
  • Reducing the burden of regulation on farmers and ensuring regulations are based on sound science and evidence
  • Developing sound and genuine partnerships
  • Using research, development and science to the benefit of agriculture and horticulture

link New Cumbrian County Chairman For NFU
link Young Cumbrian farmers to quiz NFU president
link Rural Payments Agency 'no confidence' vote

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