National Farmers Union Conference

The NFU does a fantastic job of representing farmers and other agribusinesses right across the country, and since coming into my role as Environment Secretary I have enjoyed working positively with Meurig Raymond and others to further our shared goal of a more prosperous farming industry. It was a pleasure to speak yesterday at the NFU’s annual conference in Birmingham, and I would like to congratulate Minette Batters on her election as Meurig’s successor as NFU President.

I do very much appreciate that NFU members are looking for clarity on specific issues – such as the future of direct payments, the prospects for seasonal agricultural workers, and access to the single market to name just a few.

I want to be clear that as a major contributor to the UK economy – contributing close to £110 billion each year – there is no doubt that there will be support for our vital food and farming industry after we leave the EU.

I want farmers across the country to know that I will fight their corner at every opportunity – and fight for the huge contribution they make to our communities, to our environment, and to our economy.

I am determined that we will do so much better for farmers when we leave the EU – with a system based on simpler, more effective rules, we’ll be free to grow more, sell more, and export more of our Great British food.

I therefore have outlined my ambition for a future, more prosperous farming industry, and the five principles we must follow if we are to achieve this, and I set this out in my speech yesterday.