Policy seminar

From post-Brexit trade deals to net zero and profitability, Gail Soutar, Martin Lines and George Cook will join host Abi Kay to engage in a panel discussion to explore how farmers can best prepare for the changes ahead, and what opportunities it presents for the cereals sector.

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Gail Soutar, NFU Chief EU and International Trade Adviser

New trading arrangements are set to affect the UK cereal sector. How likely is it that trade deals, with the EU and US for example, will have a big impact on the sector, and in what way? What are the opportunities for the sector in a post-Brexit world? And how will farmers be affected on the ground?

Martin Lines, Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) chairman

With the industry having set a target to be net zero by 2040, what practical steps can farmers take to implement sustainable changes? What opportunities does the net zero challenge present for farmers? Are farmers prepared? What is a farmer-led initiative such as the NFFN doing to address these climate challenges?

George Cook, Senior Farm Business Consultant, Andersons

Farm profitability is set to be affected by new policy and trading arrangements: who will be the winners and losers from ELMs policy changes? How can farmers maximise farm profits in a post-Brexit world?

Followed by an exclusive interview with Gavin Ross, deputy director of Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs), to discuss what we can expect from the new scheme and when.  

Gavin Ross, Head of Environmental land Management, Defra

With BPS being cut from next year and the UK set to roll out its future agriculture policy under the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, in 2024, how will farmers be paid across the transition? What opportunities will the new scheme bring for the cereal sector? How will the pilot work? And is ELMs as radical as originally promised?

Attendees watching live got to ask the experts their questions, find them below!

Gail Soutar – not on product coming from the EU if there is a FTA struck.

Gail Soutar – if we strike a free trade agreement with the EU (which i hope we will soon). there woud be no new tariffs on goods moving between the EU and UK and vice versa. However even if an FTA deal is struck, the cost of doing business with the EU is increasing. Most economic modelling puts that in the range of 2-10% additional costs. These can cover costs such as new health certifications for field machinery used in plant production, or new customs declarations that will be required. In a no-deal situation, costs will be much greater on trade with the EU as tariffs would be applied on top of the expected additional costs of doing business.

Gail Soutar – in a no deal situation (the government calls this leaving on “Australian” terms or WTO terms. then yes tariffs will apply. they sit around 6% for most inputs (fert / PPP etc). Machinery tariffs are about 10%, but vary depending on what the item is.

Martin Lines – Very good point around GM feed! If the UK government chooses, there will be an opportunity to change this from 1 Jan 2021.

Gail Soutar – Yes in a “no-deal” (Australian style deal) with the EU. The EU would apply 93/t tariff on UK barley exports to their market. There are limited small quotas available where the tariff is reduced to zero or 16/t. but the UK would be competing with the whole of the world to access that quota and no guarantee we could get in via that route, the volumes available under those quotas are very small in any case too. we want to strike a FTA with the EU soonest to avoid any new taxes on our exports.

George Cook – If when you look at the business profitability and BPS is the profit or less the profit the income from new schemes will not replace that profit and for budgeting purposes work on 50% reduction and then take stock of the situation may need further changes to cost base and enterprise mix

Martin Lines – AD using waste products, ie food waste is ok and part of circular processes. However, many AD plants are using crops grown for this purpose, using artificial inputs with their own carbon footprint and taking productive land away from food production and causing many soil health issues. A more comprehensive description of our stance is in our “Policy Position” page on our website.

Martin Lines – There are limited carbon trading opportunities for farmers at the moment but this is a rapidly developing market. We will need clear standardization of pricing for everyone to follow.

Martin Lines – I think that equipment technology will play a huge role in achieving Net Zero, in how we measure and manage our crops, drive down our use of fossil fuels, and the ability for smaller, autonomous vehicles to operate in our fields in the future.


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