The aim of the organisation remains the same as it was when it was formed nearly 20 years ago. However, today there are even more political and social forces as well as commercial forces which affect agriculture and the rural economy.
The CFG believes a competitive industry is more resilient against shocks (eg economic, financial, disease); more likely to reinvest; better able to provide a good working environment and career opportunities for Britain’s residents; and able to give greater choice, value, safety and food security for consumers. It is also in a better position to be environmentally positive and less likely to require financial support.
The CFG’s aim today is towards producing agricultural goods (eg food, fibre, energy) with reducing direct payments alongside appropriate and proportionate regulation, with public money primarily directed towards the delivery of public goods. It believes that in the long term, with production decoupled from subsidy and excessive regulation, farmers would be better-placed to compete in a global marketplace.
To achieve this, the following ‘building blocks’ are needed:
- Within the emerging 25-year strategy for the farming and food industry, a series of achievable, measurable five-year/shorter-term plans.
- Smarter regulation with a genuine emphasis on earned recognition and evidenced outcomes rather than compliance with process.
- Environmental policy that recognises the active management required to achieve many environmental benefits.
- Increased and better-directed funding for applied research, development and extension to increase productivity and mitigate changing climate.
- A cost-effective plan to support the delivery of public goods, including development of rural infrastructures and flood defences, and continuing improvement of the environment.
- Creation of new UK export markets for both commodity and added-value goods through a targeted, measurable and UK government-led strategy.
- Recognition of the positive benefits of scale, technology and modern farming systems in increasing productivity and providing beneficial contribution to the environment.
- Policy which considers the whole food supply chain.
- Promotion of the breadth and depth of career opportunities in agriculture at schools, colleges and universities and through work experience, apprenticeships and practical farm management training.
- A sustainable plan to ensure key sectors within UK farming can continue to access seasonal and casual labour from overseas.