NFU Brexit report shows positive outcome on the cards for UK farmers post-EU.
The NFU has today published the report it commissioned from Wageningen researchers on the 'Implications of a UK exit from the EU for British agriculture'. The report confirms what Farmers for Britain and other campaigners have been highlighting - British farmers can be better off post-Brexit.
The report shows that if area payments are maintained at the current level and either a free trade deal with the EU or default WTO tariffs are put in place then British farmers would do better outside the European Union. The report did not address a scenario where agricultural funding increases pro-Brexit.
However, while credit must go to the NFU for commissioning the report, their own summary of it is disappointing and suggests that their stance on EU membership may well be a foregone conclusion. The selective choice of graphics seems designed to spread alarm and despondency about Brexit and they fail to similarly highlight the many potential benefits.
Contrary to the overall findings of the report, the NFU themselves appear to highlight the worst case scenarios - where area payments are either halved or cease entirely. This inevitably presents a gloomy outlook for agriculture's post-Brexit future. However, the report itself does not suggest that these two outcomes are the most likely.
In light of the statement by George Eustice (backed by David Cameron) that funding will either remain the same or increase post Brexit, and taking into account the economic and social value of agriculture to the UK, it seems perhaps that the NFU may be mistakenly pessimistic in their take on what is certainly not a negative report.
The full report can be found here: http://www.nfuonline.com/lei-wageningen-eu-exit-report-april-5-2016/