Brexit Creates An Opportunity Like Never Before

In his address to NFU Scotland’s Annual General Meeting, President Allan Bowie stressed how important profitability, innovation and collaboration are for the Scottish agricultural industry to grow.

Mr Bowie also told a packed room at Radisson Blu, Glasgow, on Monday 6 February that the skills and expertise of our young farmers and crofters and those looking to enter the industry are the DNA of our industry and their enthusiasm must be embraced as they will shape our industry for future generations.

Allan Bowie

Allan Bowie

He said that Brexit creates an opportunity like never before, but we need common sense and pragmatism to make it work.

Speaking on Monday morning, he said:
“Brexit provides us with the chance to shape and influence a new agricultural policy, one which is designed to work for modern-day Scottish farmers and crofters.

“And NFU Scotland is even stronger in its commitment to make this opportunity work for many generations to come.

“Our industry is made up of people from different sectors, backgrounds, genders and ages, and that’s what makes it so special. Our young people and those starting up in farming and crofting are the DNA of our industry. They provide a future for Scottish agriculture.

“We have lobbied for, and supported generations before them and we will continue to support them in their aspirations and visions for their businesses for the future.

“And that is what helps to drive an eclectic NFU Scotland. We have such a diverse, vocal membership, who are passionate about farming and crofting and who shape our priorities to ensure they are appropriate and relevant for the challenges being faced on the ground.

“Many of the challenges we have faced, and will face going forward, are out with our control, however, we can influence these. As a Union, we are seeking a can-do attitude from the whole Scottish agricultural industry to turn these challenges into opportunities and tackle them head on as we project ourselves into a new era of being open for business

“We welcome the UK Government’s ambitions to be an open and strong trading nation. However, we need far more detail about how the agricultural sector will be represented in the negotiations now that we are to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union. There are opportunities available, but UK Government needs to be aware of the danger of tariffs and barriers to trade and the decimating impact this could have on different sectors of the agricultural industry if we are unable to secure a decent Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

“We will also be pushing to ensure Scotland continues to punch above its weight in science, research and development in a post-Brexit era, for the benefit of all of us working in this industry. Make no mistake however, despite Brexit taking up a large amount of resource for the Union, we will continue to listen to members at a grassroots level and the day to day work on a multitude of issues continues, including fairer returns from the market.

“The extension of the remit of the Grocery Code Adjudicator to farm gate level is urgently needed and for those in the supply chain that do the job well, there should be nothing to fear. Collaboration and transparency would be the winning formula and every part of the supply chain needs to be valued for the blood, sweat and tears that goes into every single bit of produce.”


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