Following an extraordinary meeting of the NSA English Committee on Monday NSA boldly shared its frustrations over the latest actions of Red Tractor in a press release this week saying that the Assurance scheme had sideswiped the sheep farming sector once again following the announcement of its Greener Farms Commitment.
NSA is deeply concerned none of the detail of the Commitment has been discussed with those directly impacted and is now calling for a root and branch review of the assurance scheme and its governance.
Phil Stocker says: “NSA continues to support the concept of farm assurance as an open gate declaration of good practice. But we have long been frustrated that the scheme is losing its way and has become less relevant to sheep farmers with little acceptance of the unique nature of our sector. Most of the nation’s sheep farms are not big businesses with layers of management, but are family farms and single operators, many with little land of their own, and our sector still offers a valuable first step on the farming ladder for young new entrants. Becoming Red Tractor Assured presents a huge hurdle for many sheep farms, and for most of the sector’s routes to market it adds no value.”
NSA believes the Greener Farms Commitment takes Red Tractor into the realm of setting environmental policy in isolation rather than getting behind the key environmental and sustainable farming schemes being introduced by Defra.