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Red Tractor Food Assurance Scheme Delays Implementation of New Standards in Response to Farmer Concerns

Source: The DairyNews
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In response to apprehensions voiced by farmers, the UK's Red Tractor food assurance scheme has opted to postpone the introduction of its new standards and additional modules. This decision aligns with the ongoing governance review conducted by the National Farmers' Union (NFU).
Red Tractor Food Assurance Scheme Delays Implementation of New Standards in Response to Farmer Concerns
Red Tractor, a prominent figure in the UK's food industry assurance, has placed its plans on hold, expressing full support for the NFU's independent review. The Agricultural and Food Standards (AFS) board of Red Tractor welcomes the broader examination of food chain assurance and its role within the supply chain, aiming to ensure its fitness for purpose in the future.

Acknowledging concerns raised by farmers across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, Christine Tacon, Chair of Red Tractor, highlighted the importance of addressing industry-wide issues within the agricultural sector. The decision to delay any decisions on the implementation or timing of the Greener Farms Commitment (GFC) and other changes to existing Red Tractor Standards underscores the commitment to the NFU's governance review.

Tacon emphasized the significance of listening to farmers' concerns, acknowledging the challenging period experienced by the UK agriculture sector. The decision reflects a deeper understanding of farmers' frustrations, extending beyond the proposed environment module. Tacon emphasized that no decisions will be made until the NFU's review is complete, and any continuation of work on an environment module will involve detailed dialogue with farmers and supply chains, considering relevant government policies.

While acknowledging the importance of Red Tractor members' views and apologizing for any delays in understanding them fully, Tacon sees the discussions as essential, offering an opportunity for collaboration between farming sectors and supply chains. Looking ahead, Tacon expects ongoing conversations with Technical Advisory Committees, Sector Boards, the new Development Advisory Panel, and a broader audience.

Highlighting the need to talk more about the overall benefits of farm assurance and addressing the challenge of demonstrating progress in environmentally focused farming, Tacon outlined a collaborative approach. Red Tractor aims to support the NFU in completing the first review by the end of January 2024, maintaining its commitment to existing standards and consumer trust in the Red Tractor logo during this interim period.

Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois
senior director of the agri-food analytics lab and a professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University.
European politics are notoriously intricate, and the recent EU elections have highlighted a growing fatigue in the West towards socialist and urban-centric policies that impact agriculture and the agri-food sectors.
John Williams
John Williams
The Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) Chair
This is probably one of the most significant numbers I have seen in the global dairy industry stats for a long time.