Food Chain Policy Manager's Blog 7 December 2016

This Christmas – as with just about every Christmas before -  farmers, crofters and growers are likely to be at home and still be hard at work writes NFU Scotland’s Food Chains Policy Manager John Armour
Even I will be milking cows and feeding calves at my parents farm on Christmas day. 
While we have the tradition of harvest thanksgiving in our rural communities in Scotland, it doesn’t cut through society in the same way that Thanksgiving does in the United States of America (USA). 
However, Christmas Day is one of the few days that we can be sure people will buy, prepare, and eat fresh food.
Our plea to the people of Scotland this festive season is to think a bit more about the tasty, safe and affordable food which will fill our plates, and our tummies, and is produced to the highest standards by dedicated band of hardy farmers. 
We know that our farming communities – individuals and families – are valued across the length and breadth of the country.  
In 2016, NFU Scotland has supported and been involved in dozens of consumer-facing events at supermarkets and farmers’ markets where we have been happy to share the fantastic story that Scottish farmers and crofters can tell about the food we produce.  The response from shoppers, and their support, has been tremendous.
But in 2017, we will enter a brave new world. We expect that the United Kingdom will officially declare its intention to leave the European Union, therefore triggering Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon in a move which could have profound impacts on our food trade and farm support. 
This month, NFU Scotland, along with the other UK farming unions sent a letter to the Prime Minister outlining the importance of food and farming in the upcoming ‘Brexit’ negotiations.
The letter was signed by 75 different organisations including major food processors, manufacturers and retailers including Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer. The signatories of this letter accounted for more than £92 billion in turnover, and together employ almost a million people. The message was loud and clear, the food and farming sector is vitally important, and its success positively impacts on every village and town across the country.
We need the importance of our farming sector to be acknowledged in the upcoming negotiations and this is where NFU Scotland will focus our lobbying efforts.
So, this festive season, let’s celebrate what we do and how we do it, be thankful for each other, and buy Scottish!

Author: John Armour

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About The Author

John Armour

John is responsible for NFU Scotland’s livestock Policy. Serving the needs of the NFU Scotland Livestock Committee he works to ensure that the objectives of the Union are delivered in order to support beef and sheep farmers in Scotland. After growing up on a dairy farm John studied International Politics at University and went on to join the NFU Scotland Policy Team in 2014. He has previously worked on both food and milk policy within the Union.

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