Poll: Should NFU be lobbying AIC to change their rules?

Should NFU be lobbying AIC to change their rules?

  • Yes, NFU should be lobbying AIC

    Votes: 150 99.3%
  • No, NFU should not bother to lobby AIC

    Votes: 1 0.7%

  • Total voters
So, as we know, AIC have a set of rules which make market access for imported grains into our UK mills relatively easy. Yet the AIC rules make it much more difficult for UK produced grain to access these UK markets. Crazy isn't it.

This is a straight forward issue, and one which is disadvantaging UK farmers. So the NFU will surely be keen to sort this out.

Where are the NFU? Why aren't they kicking up a fuss? Why aren't they lobbying the AIC? Have the NFU fallen asleep? Were they actually awake in the first place?

We all know the NFU have been generally supportive of RT, but the AIC issue has got absolutely nothing to do with RT. So why are NFU not helping? Are they fit for purpose?
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Why has it taken disgruntled farmers to pick up on these rules? Surely they have been look at in detail by other organisations so will have been known about for as long as the rules existed but never challenged 🤔


Look the way of the world is about protecting status quo where you can. There are loads of things to challenge on and social media allows alternative views to collect.
Good question.

I don't know. Words fail me.

It's obvious to me why. But it's nothing to do with having farmers core interests at heart. However I also concede enacting change can be v challenging.

That said this isn't like Brexit or environmental issues where there is diversity of opinion. The vast majority know a double standard when they see one
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Pan mixer

Mixed Farmer
Near Colchester
Same reason why the British Government have been allowing EU pig meat produced under conditions illegal in the UK since 1999 into the country. The following collapse of the UK pig industry caused by this competition means that the people must have their pork and bacon as cheap as they can get it.

Hence the pork and bacon imports flood in, more than ever, without check or question.
Why has it taken disgruntled farmers to pick up on these rules? Surely they have been look at in detail by other organisations so will have been known about for as long as the rules existed but never challenged 🤔

I asked this very question to the NFU when I heard that the NFU Leadership is suddenly shocked and alarmed at the double standards and behaviour of AIC.

Just a bit late I feel, Minette and Stuart....


The first assurance scheme I had to join was FAB Pigs, because Avonmore my regular abattoir who supplied Tesco,were told in the October of that year that all pigs had to be Farm assured or they would not buy from them. I jumped through all the hoops to get assured status by the following February and life went on with me picking up the extra burden from the assurance scheme rules. Quarterly vet visits and annual ministry vet visit. Cost was 50p/ pig sold + my time. Six months later Tesco ditched us in favour of Polish pork. This left a bitter taste with me I have never forgotten. I have since given up pigs with assurance as a major contributor to its demise..
NFU sugar Beet committee managed to oversee the closures of Kidderminster and then Alscott Factories, which left us growers without a viable crop.This was not sssurance related however, but it felt us growers had been sold out. I see history repeating itself for those growers left due to a weak negotiating front. I withdrew my NFU membeship fee for two years before rejoining.
I was a reluctant joiner of cereals assurance because of the above reasons,but economics dictated I had to, so I became a member of Genesis as it seemed a less onerous scheme than ACCS. This business got sold out a few years ago so now im in NSF. I still struggle to comprehend some of the rules and particularly detest the scheme. It takes the enjoyment away from farming.

For these reasons I do not believe the NFU are strong enough or willing to tackle the important issues raised about AIC or Red Tractor. They have after all watched them be “passed over the table to be given the nod, over many years.” All of these factors have happened under the “watchful “ eye of the NFU and their committees. It doesn’t fill me with confidence going forward from here.
I asked this very question to the NFU when I heard that the NFU Leadership is suddenly shocked and alarmed at the double standards and behaviour of AIC.

Just a bit late I feel, Minette and Stuart....

Totally agree. Far too late.

We are now expected to believe the press release about expecting import standards to be as high as ours or the public slamming of AIC is anything other than a behind the scenes agreement to fig leaf it all. We all know imports are not going to go away or be of the same standard, so why pretend?

Make no mistake this is all about sustaining and protecting the emotional investment in a flawed Red Tractor scheme for the NFU leaders and nothing else. Its a pet project that is built on sand, time to face up to it. Its their own fault for letting the mission creep get out of control and not developing a premium


Mixed Farmer
The UFU released this statement yesterday regarding RT consultation, I'm actually surprised that it isn't the usual wishy washy press release from them (still some wish wash in it tho).

Not directly related to the AIC but they must be planning to have a debate at least with RT, whether they actually do or not is another thing.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed the opportunity to comment on the Red Tractor Assured Food Standards (AFS) consultation. As one of the founders of Red Tractor and with a large proportion of its membership being members of the Red Tractor scheme, many have contacted the UFU concerned with several of the proposed standards across the sectors.

UFU president Victor Chestnutt said, “Red Tractor’s AFS consultation is of huge significance to our members who are involved in the Red Tractor scheme as it will directly impact their farm business. The relevant commodity committees have listened and reported the opinions from our members throughout the consultation process and have now responded accordingly to the proposed changes in detail for their sectors.

“There is broad support for Red Tractor’s original purpose of delivering assurance for food safety and traceability, and it is important that we recognise that this remains of strategic importance to UK agriculture. However, our members have raised clear and wide-ranging worries regarding several of the proposed standards across the sectors. There are serious concerns about the lack of clarity regarding the purpose or benefit of the proposed changes and where they will lead to. If these concerns from members are not addressed, there is a risk of detachment from the scheme.”

Members have strongly disagreed with proposals under the new environmental standards primarily because it’s already covered under the Cross Compliance legislation in Northern Ireland (NI). By including this as a standard, Red Tractor are duplicating what is already legislated by NI authorities and going beyond the requirements of farm assurance.

The feelings of frustration from many livestock members are borne from the belief that Red Tractor lacks trust in their competence and ability to care for their animals.

“Proposals for requiring a certificate of competence and professional services to plan feed rations or administer veterinary medicines, has given the impression that Red Tractor views their farmers as being unqualified to carry out daily tasks which many have been doing their entire working lives. Members have also called into question where the evidence for these proposals lie and have demonstrated that there is a genuine risk to either the farmer or the animal’s health and welfare,” said Mr Chestnutt.

The UFU understands Red Tractor’s aim is to find the right balance between producers, retail and consumers in terms of developing robust standards. However, the level of dismay raised throughout this consultation period is testimony that this balance has not been found.

“It’s vital that the communication between Red Tractor and its scheme members improves. This is essential to achieving the support the scheme needs to move forward. As a key stakeholder of the Red Tractor, the UFU would welcome the opportunity to discuss how this can be done.

“It is our view that Red Tractor should seek to define and communicate the needs of the specific market and that of the consumer. Any new proposed standard should be addressing these elements including the financial cost of implementing the new standard and the consequent benefit it delivers at farm level. As part of this cost benefit analysis, a thorough debate should be had, and evidenced outlining how and who should fund the cost of applying any new standard,” said the UFU president.

Old apprentice

Arable Farmer
North west
It just looks as if all these organization's work with each other behind closed doors . As I put on another post they just pat each other on the back . All injustices piled onto british farmers just ignored purport themselves as the saviours and we all know they are not as many have pointed out it is all in legislation. But as the earlier post on pigs the legislation disadvantaged uk producers. Supemarket stoped buying uk for imports because of price same as grains etc . Now when tff have put these injustice forward we must not pull back .l for one did not realise the nfu were running what I think is a double standard. Supermarkets only one thing price for profit for them just a front is RT for them to sell there products. Profit only that is why we as farmers have to pay for this assurance and is in leaislation end of.


Mixed Farmer
i’m sure all the nfu officers abd red tractor employees who claim to not read TFF will be along soon to dilute your 100% record !
Don’t worry I doubt there’s enough of them on the payroll to make a dent in proceedings worth bothering about!
I am not sure I trust NFU to lobby in the way I want the rules changing.

I have not voted as I would want a clear decision from the NFU on what rules and how the change would be implemented before they started lobbying.
What influence would the NFU have over the AIC? One defends the interests of its members very badly; one defends the interests of its members very well.

Farmers are worse off in both cases.
Lobbying is too soft........

Lack of balls......
Maybe I shouldn't have used the word 'lobby' in the poll. Maybe 'challenge' would have been a better word.

Sadly, fact remains, I don't think NFU will challenge AIC. Clearly we have a situation where UK farmers are being disadvantaged. The silence from NFU is deafening. They are supposed to be a farmers union!

I do hope NFU see this poll, and act on it. They should have seen it via twitter.

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