Yesterday I attend a Brexit seminar with large-scale farmers in Lincolnshire and there was a very interesting discussion.
Among their priorities for a post-Brexit domestic agricultural policy was research on what would reduce the cost of production. There could be more emphasis in policy on supporting success, on what was likely to succeed. There should be schemes to promote successful sectors and make them more efficient.The social, environmental and commercial aspects of agricultural policy could be more clearly separated.
Policy should be more evidence based and there should be less reliance on the precautionary principle. Among some of those present there was perhaps a little too much optimism about how it would be possible to roll back regulations. However, it was recognised that any attempt to use currently banned growth stimulants would be blocked by retailers.
It was accepted that intensive livestock systems would lose out under future subsidy policies because they could not demonstrate a public good. Even so, the beef and sheep sectors could be in trouble, especially if tariffs were imposed on exports of sheep meat.
I was struck by how much tension there was between different sectors and even within sectors.