Farmer says '˜wait and see' to Brexit impact

A prominent farmer has said the agricultural community will have to bide its time before the impact of Brexit becomes clear.

Saturday, 25th June 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:15 am
Trevor Passmore

Following yesterday’s historic decision for Britain to leave the EU, Trevor Passmore discussed the potential outcomes for farmers.

Mr Passmore, 66, of Coombes, runs a farm which breeds sheep and cattle. He said he would have to wait and see what the outcome of Brexit would be for the farming community.

“At the moment we get EU subsidies but they are pretty well set by the government of the day. The idea was to freeze out some of these anyway.

“We’re just going to have to wait and see what government is in power in five or 10 years time and how much support we’re going to get.”

This echoes the stance adopted by the National Farmers’ Union, which backed neither the Leave nor Remain campaigns in the run-up to the referendum.

The EU currently spends more than 40 per cent of its budget supporting agriculture.

According to the National Farmers’ Union website, 38 per cent of lamb produced in the UK was exported to the EU.

Mr Passmore said the best case scenario would be that farmers could continue to trade with Europe as they do now with the opportunity to forge new global trade links.

In his opinion, the worst situation is that the UK is cut out of the European common market completely, which ‘would drive down his prices’.

He added: “The farming community is very resilient; we’ve been around for a long time. We’ve got a market in Europe but also in the world; it’ll be an interesting time. We’ve got China, India – hopefully we can export to them as well as Europe.

“We import more foodstuffs than we export, so if there’s a tariff on imports into the country from the EU, we can soak up the demand by selling our products in the UK.”

Mr Passmore also spoke in his capacity as the head of the Adur Twinning Association, saying that links forged with European towns would remain strong in the face of Brexit.

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