The Royal Norfolk Show 2017: Brexit dominates the agricultural conversation at county show

BBC Radio 4's Anna Hill (centre) leads a panel discussion on agriculture at the Royal Norfolk Show 2

BBC Radio 4's Anna Hill (centre) leads a panel discussion on agriculture at the Royal Norfolk Show 2017. On the panel are chef Richard Bainbridge, NFU Norfolk chairman Tony Bambridge, John Innes Centre scientist Dr Steven Penfield, farmer Helen Reeve, CLA regional director Ben Underwood and agricultural entrepreneur Rob Alston. Picture: D Faulkner - Credit: Archant

Unsurprisingly changes in the landscape after Britain leaves the European Union dominated much of the conversation at the Royal Norfolk Show 2017.

Farming subsidies, which have been paid by the EU, have been of concern to the industry and Ben Underwood, East regional director for the Country Land Association, said it was important farmers' wider contribution was recognised.

He said: 'We really want to see a food farming and environment policy that rewards farmers for all the other things they do for society, whether that be clean water, carbon sequestration, the landscape and wildlife. There is a whole package of things there which can justify going forward with the investment we have seen in the rural economy.'

He added that while there was some security guaranteed by the government until 2022 but it had not been revealed what form it would take.

Rob Alston, managing director of farming company Silfield, said: 'It's not about subsidies per se it is about having a competitive sustainable industry and subsidies enable that.


You may also want to watch:


'We are looking for a way to deliver

'This gives us an opportunity to redress and change the way we support farming. But farming does need support.'

Most Read

Tony Bambridge, NFU Norfolk chairman, said that there were opportunities after Brexit.

'We import over a billion pounds worth of potatoes into the Uk so that's a huge opportunity for our country and East Anglia so that is a huge opportunity,' he said.

'The opportunity we have is to change the way we think about things, we have to really repatriate how we deal with environmental protection. Most of our environmental laws are made to suit 27 EU states all the way down to the Mediterranean.'

There were also concerns about the access to labour if EU nationals were restricted from coming to the country to work after Brexit.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus