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NSA concerned for yet more uncertainty for the agricultural industry

14th November 2023

As the third Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in just over a year was announced yesterday (Monday 13th November), the National Sheep Association (NSA) is concerned the negative impact this may have on the industry.

NSA Chief Executive, Phil Stocker comments: “It is worrying that agriculture is again in a position of uncertainty and the loss of another Secretary of State be a huge blow to any kind of continuity we might have been developing. The whole ministerial team is at risk of another huge upheaval. The industry must, again, start from scratch in trying to resolve some of the decade-long issues that have been rumbling on throughout these changes.”

Former Health Secretary Steve Barclay was yesterday announced as the new Defra Secretary following the resignation of Therese Coffey from her post. He becomes the tenth Secretary of State since 2010.

Mr Stocker continues: “Although Mr Barclay does not currently have a huge amount of experience in the agricultural field NSA welcomes him into the position. The sector is in need of stability and continuity of any future proposals or plans and we look forward to working with government wherever possible to support this.

“The agricultural industry is facing a plethora of challenges including phasing out of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), the roll out the Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS), continued inflation and low prices, less than ideal trade deals and recent cases of exotic disease. There must be a commitment across agriculture to understand the British industry across its departments and realise the value of the UK as a food producing nation.”