The National Farmers Union have released the report they commissioned from Wageningen University on the possible implications of Brexit for EU agriculture: The report explores three alternative scenarios of what might happen after Brexit.
The NFU Council will decide in mid-April whether to take a position on the referendum. Most farmers probably favour remaining in membership, but a sizeable minority want to leave.
Feedback meetings on the report being held by the NFU around the country are attracting big audiences. This is in line with my experience of addressing meetings in Yorkshire on our Yorkshire Agricultural Society report on Brexit. These attracted audiences of 200 and 160. I will be addressing a meeting in Cumbria on May 5th.
The results of each scenario show that the biggest driver of UK farm income change is the level of public support payments available. The positive price impacts on farm incomes seen through both the FTA and WTO default scenarios would be offset by reductions in direct support. A reduction of direct support, or a complete elimination of it, would exacerbate the negative impact effects seen under the UK Trade Liberalisation scenario.
The cattle and sheep sectors are particularly dependent on direct support payments, but so too are mixed farms and field crops. Consequently, the combination of a more liberal trade policy and a reduction or elimination of direct support would make many British farms less viable.
The report can be linked to from here: Report