The Labour government must prioritise a multi-year budget for agricultural policy, the main UK farming unions have said.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Tom Bradshaw said an increased agriculture budget for the duration of the new parliament is “the number one priority” for farmers.

Similarly, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is pressing for “an inflation-proofed budget” for agriculture set over at least a 10-year period.

The UFU is also lobbying for a veterinary agreement between the UK and EU to help address post-Brexit trade issues, as well as legislative targets for both food and energy security.

UFU president William Irvine said it was “noticeable and concerning” that there were “few references” to farming and food security during the UK general election campaign.

“Moving forward, we need all political parties to work together to safeguard and develop our agri-food industry, supporting farmers to feed a growing population while addressing climate change,” he said.

New ministers

Following Labour’s election win last week, the party confirmed Steve Reed as Secretary of State at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The Croydon North MP has held the shadow position since September 2023.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner was appointed Minister for State at Defra with responsibility for farming and had been Shadow Farming Minister since January 2020.


Meanwhile, Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott is to be appointed to the House of Lords after being named in the dissolution honours list.

The Ulster Unionist MLA is currently chair of Stormont’s agriculture committee, although it remains unclear if he will continue in his role in the Assembly after receiving the peerage.

Former NFU president Minette Batters was also named as a new life member of the House of Lords in the dissolution honours list.