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Brexit & Farming– All The Routes For Farmers Explained

On the 12th March 2019, Theresa May’s Brexit Deal II was rejected. With her voice deteriorating, she grudgingly began to lay out her next steps.

The last time we wrote about this subject on the blog was about two years ago.  In that space of time, it’s fair to say that Brexit has become an all-consuming, white elephant.

Being the behemoth of an issue that it is, it has succeeded in dominating political bickering to the point where most of us have given up trying to be well-informed, and instead are stranded in jargon used by prominent ‘Brexiteers’, somewhere between ‘meaningful vote’, ‘backstop’ and ‘Norway-style compromise’.

Many may aim anger towards Farmers for, in the majority, voting to leave the EU.  Whichever way they voted, Farmers are apprehensive, with still no concrete plan agreed upon.  Hard ‘brexiteers’ have warned that despite parliament voting against No-Deal, it could still happen. There is two ways to take no-deal off the cards for good– agree to a deal, or revoke Article 50.  Since two of May’s deals have been rejected, and it seems unlikely that Article 50 will be revoked, a ‘no-deal’ possibility still looms large.

The NFU has warned that ‘No-Deal’ could potentially be catastrophic, and that belief has only been echoed by other notable names in the industry. The Farmers Union of Wales has gone one step further and has asked Article 50 to be revoked. The battle farmers face is that they must continue to drill, plough, lamb and milk without honestly knowing if their will be any demand for their hard-grafted goods, after that imposing curfew of March 29th.

 

The Effect of a No-Deal Brexit on Farming

How could ‘No-Deal’ affect our farmers? (Info credits to NFU: https://bit.ly/2TxbNdP )

  • Farmers would face unfair tariffs, which will financially impoverish them, and only do more to make us more reliant on food imports, as the UK’s farmers failed to deal competitively.
  • Sheep farmers could be hit particularly hard, as they rely heavily on export of their meat, which could be halted for months, if the UK was to leave with ‘no deal’. Many rely on tariff-free access to EU customers to survive. There’s no way that Britain will suddenly develop an insatiable appetite for lamb to create demand for this supply that would be otherwise wasted with No-Deal.   At worst, this could result in mass slaughtering of livestock, which would have otherwise been ready to export.
  • No concrete replacement for subsidies and benefits incorporated into the CAP.
  • Historically high standards that Britain has insisted upon in Food Production could be compromised.
  • A sudden reduction in immigration has the potential to stall many parts of the farming community, as inexpensive EU labour is heavily relied upon in harvesting and processing.
  • The import of key items such as machinery parts, animal feed and veterinary products, as well as agronomy supplies could be stalled

 

How do farmers proceed in the event of a No-Deal?

(Info Credits to gov.uk)

  • In 2019, EU funding for rural payment schemes will continue, even if the UK leaves with no deal. The schemes will be operated as before.
  • For import/export guidance, the best place to be is here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-farming-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit
  • Employing seasonal workers: ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’ means that EEA citizens arriving in the UK after 29 March 2019 are still allowed to live, work and study without a Brexit Deal. EEA citizens granted this leave will be permitted to remain in the UK for 36 months following the date of the application.
  • Tariffs: If we leave the EU on March 29th without a deal, the UK will implement a temporary tariff regime, which means that for 12 months, the majority of UK imports would be classed as tariff-free.

 

For more info follow the link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-farming-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit

 

Brexit and Farming Subsidies – What will happen?

So, if ‘No-Deal’ doesn’t happen, the question is what will? (Info credits: parliament.uk) Either we revoke Article 50 and call the whole thing off or, alternatively agree to a reworked deal.  Below are listed some of the potential options that have been discussed, with regards to farming in the UK, post EU withdrawal.

  • Westminster has declared that it will match the subsidies offered in the CAP until the end of this parliament which (for the moment!) is scheduled for 2022. The question in our minds is no doubt, what happens after the next election, which could be an awful lot sooner than 2022.
  • However, it is estimated that the cut to direct payments will kick in for the first time in 2021, and continue until they are totally eradicated after 2027.
  • With the initiation of a Green Brexit, officials from Team Gove have been known to say that the payments that farmers receive following 2021 will depend on how sincere their efforts are to help conserve the environment
  • According to parliament.uk, it has been indicated by the government that there is unlikely to be a move to ‘any brand-new system of farm support until after 2024’.
  • The ‘UK Governments 25 Year Environment Plan’ set out plans for a new environmental land management system, based on paying farmers public money for public goods, i.e. for environmental enhancement. This would replace direct payments to farmers in England from 2024.
  • Westminster is not willing to compromise animal welfare, environment and food production standards in negotiations for trade deals.
  • The government is seeking a solution for access to seasonal agricultural labour, and were originally considering a scheme whereby up to 2500 non-EU migrants could be recruited each year from Spring 2019 – December 2020.

 

What will happen on the 29th March is far from clear, even though we are a mere 10 days away. Stay tuned on our social channels and keep up with the blog for more updates. Whatever happens, we will continue to be the Linc you can trust and endeavour to help farmers across the globe, in the EU or out, earn better.

 

Bibliography/Useful Links:

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8218

https://www.nfuonline.com/news/brexit-news/eu-referendum-news/a-no-deal-brexit-must-be-avoided-at-all-costs-uk/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-farming-sector-and-preparing-for-eu-exit

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