THE NFU has expressed “deep frustration and disappointment” at still not knowing what trading environment it could be operating under in the future.

Minette Batters, NFU president, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for agriculture to be left with this level of uncertainty.

“We have repeatedly said that a no deal scenario would be catastrophic for farming, but political events have created further doubt and uncertainty.

"I cannot emphasise enough the importance of getting this right for farming.”

She was speaking after an extraordinary meeting of the NFU Council, and issued six principles it believes will help it achieve the best outcome from Brexit for British farmers.

Mrs Batters said: “We will be using these principles to assess which, of any, future options on the table are most, and least, likely to ensure farmers can continue to serve the country, producing food for the nation.

"We are hopeful that policy-makers on both sides of the channel will come to a workable solution as a matter of urgency.

"Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the progress of the Agriculture Bill through Parliament, so that farmers, growers and the public can be assured that despite the uncertainty of Brexit, the UK government will establish a framework that supports farmers as food producers and custodians of the countryside. It is crucial that the Government ensures our high standards of food safety and production are not undermined by lower standard imports from elsewhere in the world."

“These are extraordinary times and the NFU is committed to remaining on the front foot during an ever-changing political climate. As an organisation we have always been committed to representing our members and the principles agreed here today, with the backing of NFU Council, reflect that.”

The six principles are to:

  • avoid a ‘no deal’ outcome and any short-term political and economic turmoil;
  • ensure as free a trade in agri-food goods as possible with our principal EU market;
  • gain greater regulatory control and discretion over UK farm practice;
  • maintain access to the seasonal and permanent workforce required by the UK food chain;
  • ensure our international trade respects domestic production standards;
  • implement a new agricultural policy framework that supports farmers as food producers, improves productivity and resilience and properly rewards the delivery of public goods.