IN her first speech of 2020, the president of the National Farmers’ Union has called for 2020 to be a time for the farming community to be ambitious, take action against climate change, and stand up against stocking chlorinated chicken and hormone-fed beef on supermarket shelves.

Starting her speech, Minette Batters said: “This time last year I said that 2019 was going to be a pivotal time for British farming. I wasn’t wrong, but if this year has been big, 2020 is going to be monumental.

“Two Brexit extensions and a general election later, we find ourselves in the familiar position of trying to anticipate where the farming industry is heading. However, given the government’s majority in parliament we can finally say with some certainty that the UK will be leaving the EU on January 31.”

In wake of Brexit however, Ms Batters said it was imperative that British food standards were maintained, with food that had been produced in ways that were illegal in the UK remaining banned from the country.

Focusing on climate change-friendly food production, and British agriculture becoming net zero by 2040 were also priorities outlined in the speech, alongside ensuring the new Agriculture Bill would support farmers through this changing time and beyond.

“As an industry we have proven that British farming can be a leading voice in the face of political upheaval, extreme weather events and increasing climate challenges,” said Ms Batters.

“We are a driving force within the national economy, building food and farming’s contribution to £122bn and employing more than four million people.

“This is a time for us to get in front of MPs like never before because we have a fantastic story to tell.

“So over the next year let’s show politicians, the supply chain and the public what they can gain from backing British farming and from investing in its future.”