THE Government must not take a piecemeal approach to future farm policy.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA), chairman James Gray warned about the dangers of addressing specific elements of policy in isolation from the wider context within which farming operates.

He said: “What the new policy framework must address is how to ensure that as a nation we continue to deliver to consumers safe, good quality food, produced to high environmental, ethical and animal welfare standards at prices they can afford and which provide adequate returns to the farming community to cover costs, provide a living and produce a profit for reinvestment.”

Mr Gray said the publication of the Government’s 64-page consultation document was a step along the way. “But it lacks sufficient detail in areas such as correcting market failures within supply chains, protecting animal welfare and environmental standards for food at our borders, promoting structural change and dealing with the challenges of labour supply both in primary agriculture and for first processors.

“All these areas have equal importance with the future of the Basic Payment and Agri-environment schemes about which the consultation has more to say.”

The TFA has also encouraged landlords and tenants to use the pre-Brexit period for productive discussions about how both intend to deal with the opportunities and challenges which lie ahead and leave discussions about levels of rent until later.

“With so much uncertainty, the TFA has been encouraging tenant farmers to ensure that they are in a position to have a rent review available in either the autumn of next year or the spring of the following year when we should know more about the future of our relationship with the EU and the policy environment within which we will be operating,” said Mr Gray.