Union Committed to Striking the Right Brexit Deal for Farmers and Crofters

Top politicians address Union conference on Brexit

NFU Scotland’s remains fully committed to striking the right Brexit deal for Scotland’s farmers and crofters.

At a busy Autumn Conference in Perthshire today (27 October), President Andrew McCornick told delegates that withdrawal from both the EU and the CAP means that change is coming.  In the 18 months since the EU referendum, the Union has been on the front foot, both in terms of its political lobbying and member engagement, and that moves to the next level with a nationwide programme of Brexit roadshows for members next month.  

In his opening address, Mr McCornick said that while there is a great deal of frustration over the lack of political progress on negotiations, the Union has resolutely pursued its three priorities of securing friction-free trade; access to skilled and competent labour and a future support package for Scotland that is adequately funded, fairly allocated and will underpin a policy framework specifically designed for Scottish farming’s future needs.

The event heard an update on Brexit from Lord Ian Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, and Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe. Tom Hind, Chief Strategy Officer at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) also spoke on its latest Brexit scenario-planning, which examined the potential impact of Brexit on a wide range of farm types.

Speaking at the event, Mr McCornick said: “Withdrawal from the EU means withdrawal from the CAP and for our members that means CHANGE.

“Post-Brexit and post-CAP, Scottish agriculture has an opportunity to move away from area-based schemes that have incentivised inertia.  That will need the devolved delivery of schemes and measures that are fit for Scotland’s needs underpinned by a recast support package that is adequately funded, ring-fenced and properly targeted.

“For our farmers, crofters and food and drink sector to move forward with confidence we need friction-free trade that protects the hard-won provenance of the Scottish brand and recognises the exceptional production standards that we have built our reputation on.

“For us, a Single Market and Customs Union, at least through transition, is a ‘must’. At the same time, future trade deals must not suck in cheaper food produced to poorer standards.

“Trade and labour issues are just as critical to the future well-being of both primary production and food and drink manufacturing.  With a target turnover of £30 billion by 2030, food and drink will continue to generate greater returns for Scotland than areas like oil and gas but that needs access to skilled and competent labour – both seasonal and permanent - to make it work.

“The onus is on politicians to make this happen and that needs political posturing and grandstanding to end.

“NFUS accepts that there will be overarching elements of regulation which are best-suited to be managed on a UK ‘framework’ basis. Such as labelling rules, animal welfare, pesticides regulation and the like in order to maintain a functioning UK single market. The Scottish Government must retain the ability to manage support and implement schemes, policies and regulations as it currently does as a devolved nation delivering the CAP.

“What is managed on a ‘framework’ basis, must be commonly agreed. NFUS has been crystal clear that any move which will drop down a ‘Defra-centric’ policy on to Scotland is unacceptable.

“At the outset of Brexit negotiations, NFUS has engaged with its members, established its priorities and principles and taken the lead.  This conference, our November roadshows and debate and discussion at AgriScot at Ingliston on 15 November will further fine tune our position.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland’s Autumn Conference was held in Birnam Arts & Conference Centre, Birnam. Photographs of the speakers Lord Ian Duncan - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland at the UK Government’s Scotland Office; Michael Russell MSP - Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe at the Scottish Government and Tom Hind, Chief Strategy Officer at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) are available from
  • NFU Scotland’s Brexit roadshow events are as follows (all start at 7.30pm unless stated otherwise)
    • 1 November – East Central at Huntingtower Hotel
    • 2 November – Forth and Clyde at Garfield Hotel, Stepps 
    • 6 November – Highlands at Broadford Hotel, Skye 
    • 7 November – Highlands at Dingwall Mart 
    • 8 November – North East at Thainstone 
    • 13 November – Orkney at Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall 
    • 14 November – Shetland at Shetland Hotel, Lerwick 
    • 21 November – Ayrshire at Western Hotel, Ayr
    • 22 November – Dumfries and Galloway at Threave Visitor Centre, Castle Douglas (Note change of venue)
    • 23 November – Lothians and Borders at Carfraemill 
    • 24 November – Argyll and Islands (12.30pm at Tarbert Bowling Club and 7.30pm at Cuan Mor, Oban).
  • To read NFU Scotland’s Brexit CHANGE documents follow links below: and


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4108

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 162/17

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