Published: 09:29, 10 January 2019
| Updated: 16:49, 14 January 2019
MPs are being warned of the dangers of a 'no deal' Brexit to landowners and tenants across the county.
It comes from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Tenant Farmers' Association (TFA). The two organisations have teamed up to write to politicians at Westminster to call for a 'no deal' to be removed from the negotiating table.
They claim without a withdrawal agreement in place, all farmers would be left facing significant tariffs on exports or potentially the inability to trade with the EU.
In 2017 this accounted for 60% of all UK food and drink exports.
The lack of a secure supply of migrant labour would also leave the danger of crops being unpicked this summer and food "rotting in the fields".
CLA president Tim Breitmeyer said: “Avoiding the uncertainty and catastrophic effects of a no deal Brexit is critical for both landlords and tenants as well as the wider rural economy, and the entire farming community is united in our opposition to a no deal Brexit.
“Leaving the EU without an agreement firmly in place is likely to have disastrous long-term consequences for the nation’s countryside and its rural communities.
“The UK’s future relationship with the EU must include the free and frictionless trade on which so many rural businesses depend. A 'no deal' scenario would throw this into doubt.
"It is crucial that all MPs and the government work together to ensure a deal is in place before March 29.”
'Leaving the EU without an agreement firmly in place is likely to have disastrous long-term consequences for the nation’s countryside and its rural communities'
A vote on Theresa May's much derided withdrawal agreement is due to take place in the House of Commons next Tuesday, January 8. It is, however, likely to be defeated, heightening fears of a 'no deal' exit.
TFA chief executive George Dunn added: “The sustainability of the landlord tenant system in agriculture depends on ensuring the long-term profitability of the sector.
“Landlords and tenants cooperate to manage over a third of the agricultural land of the country producing great food and a host of wider public benefits. Both landlords and tenants need the confidence to invest for the future and the ramifications of a 'no deal' Brexit would put that in jeopardy.
“Farm tenants are proud of the high-quality output for which they are responsible and the thought that these standards could be undermined by cheaper, lower quality imports in a 'no deal' Brexit is a major concern.
"It is vital the government delivers a viable framework to ensure that Brexit provides more opportunities through a good deal than the challenges that would be presented by a 'no deal' scenario.”