We have a proud tradition in this part of Somerset of producing some of the world’s finest meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
Much of what we produce is consumed here at home, but increasingly local farmers are discovering that there is an enormous market for their quality produce overseas.
This week, the Agricultural Bill returns to the House of Commons and there will be more hype around whether we must enshrine in law a commission to review the impacts of trade deals on our food standards. I understand the nervousness of the National Farmers Union, but I also know that there are many farmers locally who do not advocate for protections and recognise that there will always be a strong, profitable market for their produce.
Moreover, any suggestion that our own food standards will be lowered by a trade deal is for the birds. Our own food standards are not a matter for international trade negotiations and so we must be careful to guard against hyperbole of those who oppose Brexit and will jump on any horse they can in order to prejudice our future trade relationships with the outer world.
We have several statutory bodies which focus on standards and therefore there is no need for a separate commission, as alleged by some.
Nothing has been voted for or against as part of the Agriculture Bill that has contributed to lowering our food standards – and it never will be.