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London, 27th February 2018: Dairy UK has today issued the following comment in response to the announcement from Defra of a wide-ranging consultation on the future of the food and farming: ‘Health and Harmony: The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment in a Green Brexit’:

Dairy UK has long advocated that the seismic shift Brexit will create will bring with it opportunities we should be prepared to take advantage of. Any new agricultural policy that incentivises farmers for improving animal welfare, environmental standards and that promotes efficiency is for us, a positive step towards the successful dairy industry of the future.

However the Government must ensure that following this consultation, urgent questions on the future of farming are addressed. We broadly support the move to phase out the direct payments, so long as assurances are given that these funds be ring-fenced for the purpose of agriculture and invested to improve and maintain the competitiveness of UK dairy farms against their European neighbours.

As an industry we need clarity from the Government on how the policies of the devolved administrations will work alongside each other, to ensure a common framework that does not distort domestic trade. We’re happy to see that the consultation recognises the importance of dealing with the border issues between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

We look forward to contributing to this consultation and working with Defra, and to shaping the future of farming post-Brexit.