08 March 2021
NFU response calls for fresh approach on Red Tractor standards
THE NFU has responded to a consultation on how Red Tractor standards should look across the six farming sectors, which calls for a fresh approach.
It highlighted how imbalance exists between production standards expected of UK farmers, compared with those required of foreign imports.
NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: “Red Tractor’s standards are the bedrock of UK agriculture and have helped establish our food and farming industry as the benchmark for quality across the world. There is strong support for Red Tractor’s original purpose of assuring the public that food is safe, produced with care to high standards of environmental protection and animal welfare and is fully traceable back to UK farms.
“Continued support for the Red Tractor assurance scheme will be crucial not just at home but, as new trade deals are developed, it will also help to bolster ‘Brand Britain’ as we take British food to new, global markets.
“However, as Red Tractor standards continue to evolve, some of the proposed changes in this consultation have provoked strong feelings within our membership, particularly concerning how the proposed changes demonstrate value back to the farm gate. There is a real risk that farmers and growers will not see deliverable benefits from the Red Tractor scheme without properly addressing these concerns."
The NFU set out key principles that Red Tractor and farming sectors should use as a guide when developing standards now and in the future which it says are more meaningful for farmers, increase relevance and integrity within the food supply chain, and deliver value back to the farm.
Stuart said: “We would also like to see Red Tractor aspiring to be a progressive, cost effective and flexible assurance scheme which continues to be a vital part of the UK food supply chain. It must show it is listening and provide confidence to farmers and growers that new standards are outcome focused, not just a tick box exercise.”