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Unions agree on future of Common Agri Policy

UK and Irish farming unions have agreed they will continue to work together to secure a strong and fully funded Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) following a recent meeting in Edinburgh.

The meeting, which involved members and staff from NFU Scotland, NFU England and Wales, NFU Cymru, Ulster Farmers’ Union and the Irish Farmers’ Association, also condemned Europe’s decision to re-open trade talks with South America and expressed concerns about the impact that such talks could have on the UK and Irish livestock sectors.

The visit was hosted by NFU Scotland’s Livestock Committee Chairman Rob Livesey, who said: “There was a commitment from this group that we will continue to work together to secure a strong and fully funded CAP budget, which is essential for the livestock sector in the context of the debate on CAP and Single Farm Payments (SFP) post-2013." He went on to say that farm organisations across the UK and Ireland were very clear that the SFP must be fully protected and paid to active livestock producers going forward.

“The UK unions and the IFA also expressed total opposition to the recent decision by the EU Commission to reopen trade talks between the EU and the Mercosur countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The European livestock sector needs the full support of the EU Commission to meet the challenges of climate change and food security across Europe. Re-engaging in these negotiations is contradictory to EU agricultural policy, which demands, amongst many things, that producers farm with increasing efficiency in order to reduce the effects of climate change whilst producing meat to the highest of animal health and welfare standards."

Livesey believes that South American production fails to meet EU standards across consumer issues of traceability, food safety, animal health and environmental controls. He said that European consumers expect safe, affordable food produced to the highest environmental and animal health standards and UK and Irish livestock producers deliver on this demand consistently.

“The farm organisations are committed to working closely together on the ongoing issues covering all areas of livestock farming,” he concluded.

Source: NFU Scotland

Natalie Berkhout

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