What farmers really want
It is always good to talk to farmers about their post Brexit hopes and fears and I had another good discussion in Yorkshire last week.
In terms of their hopes, they thought that there was an opportunity to create a more bespoke domestic agricultural policy rather than the monolithic CAP. A smaller sum of money could be spent more efficiently and effectively to achieve better results. This required a reduction in transaction costs.
Overarching principles were needed and the objective should be to make good farming easier and to penalise poor practice. Policy should be simple to operate and transparent.
What had to be sought for farming to succeed in the future was increased and sustainable productivity. This would in turn depend on the making the best use of new technological innovations, some of which were highly complex. There was a skills gap, so investment needed to be made in human capital.
There was concern about the continuing effect of the retail sector's race to the bottom which led to delayed payments and cash flow problems.