What would the UK’s Brexit vision mean for Irish agriculture?
Theresa May and the British government have published their white paper which sets out its desired future relationship with the EU. What does this vision mean for Irish agriculture?

Key points

  • A common rulebook on goods would allow for free and frictionless trade and prevent a hard border between the north and south of Ireland.
  • Under the free-trade area, there would be no tariffs or quotas on agricultural goods between the UK and EU.
  • The UK has signalled its intention to “improve agricultural productivity” and “deliver improved environmental outcomes through its replacement for CAP”.
  • Economic partnership

    As has been previously revealed, following a divisive meeting that resulted in the resignation of two high-profile ministers, the UK is seeking a common rulebook for all goods, including agri-food, while excluding services.

    This means the UK would commit to ongoing harmonisation with the relevant EU rules to allow for frictionless trade at the north-south border and to meet the conditions of the backstop agreement.

    Under this proposal, there would be recognition that goods coming into the UK would face the same treatment at the border as goods coming into EU member states, so there would be no need for further restrictions between the UK and the EU.

    It also clearly states that while the common rulebook will apply to only those rules that must be checked at the border, it will not cover marketing and labelling requirements, an area in which it says there is already difference between EU member states.

    Tariffs and rules of origin

    Also acknowledged is the extensive trade relationship between the UK and the EU in agricultural products, with 70% of UK food imports coming from the EU in 2017.

    With this in mind, the paper sets out that the UK will seek a free-trade area for agricultural goods. As a result, there would be zero tariffs across agricultural goods, with no quotas.

    There would also be no routine requirements for origin checks between the UK and EU due to the maintenance of harmonised rules.

    Future UK agricultural strategy

    The paper says that as the UK is exiting CAP, it will design a new system of agricultural supports, with high ambitions for a sustainable agricultural industry in the UK - within the confines of WTO rules.

    The paper claims that the UK “will seek to improve agricultural productivity” and “deliver improved environmental outcomes through its replacement for CAP". This will be done in close partnership with the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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    Weather forecast

    Tonight will become quite windy, with freshening southerly breezes.

    It will be predominantly dry, but there will be a few patches of rain and drizzle about.

    Minimum temperatures of 5°C to 9°C, according to Met Éireann.

    Tuesday will see a dry day in many central and eastern counties.

    Rain will extend across most of Munster and Connacht by the afternoon.

    Rain will then gradually spread eastwards during the evening, with some heavy bursts possible.

    Highest temperatures of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh south to southeast winds.

    In the news

  • Problems with rodents have led to the closure of Delvin Mart canteen.
  • Information leaflets on new EID tagging regulations are to be sent out with Sheep and Goat Census forms.
  • Concerns mount as the clock continues to countdown to March 2019, when the UK is expected to have an approved exit plan in place and Theresa May has deferred a Brexit vote in the Commons.
  • Patrick Hurley of Carhoogarriffe, Leap, Co Cork, appeared at Kenmare District Court last week, accused of stealing cash from a 93-year-old Kenmare man.
  • The new assistant principal in Kildalton qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.
    Kildalton appoints new assistant principal
    The new assistant principal qualified in Wales and previously held the role of lecturer in dairy production.

    James Ryan has been appointed as the new assistant principal in Kildalton Agricultural College, Co Kilkenny.

    Ryan currently lectures in dairy production and manages the 110-cow dairy enterprise on the farm.

    Three of his former students were awarded FBD young farmer of the year and he has previously worked as a Teagasc dairy business and technology adviser in Tipperary and education officer in Skibbereen.

    “I am really looking forward to this new role, as I am passionate about teaching and instilling a love of agriculture, and in particular dairy farming, to students,” Ryan said.

    He was also congratulated in his new appointment by head of Teagasc education Tony Petitt, who said: “James brings to this role a wealth of experience of delivering education courses, both in theory and in terms of practical application on farms. I wish him every success in this post.”

    Ryan takes over as assistant principal from Tim Ashmore, who has been appointed as the education programme's verification specialist in the Teagasc curriculum development and standards unit.

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    Rain intensifies as winter sets in – weather report
    After a relatively dry autumn, November has seen above-average rainfall for most of the month.

    Autumn 2018 has been marked by relatively mild and settled weather, according to the most recent quarterly Met Éireann weather report.

    Storms Ali, Callum and Diana brought strong gusts, with wind speeds of up to 115 km/h recorded during Storm Ali at Mace Head, Co Galway on 19 September.

    Strongest gusts

    Ali also recorded the strongest gusts, with 146 km/h recorded in the same place on the same date.

    Storm Ali will also remain in the minds of many farmers as being guilty of cancelling this year’s National Ploughing Championships at short notice, with an additional day added on to satisfy punters.

    Barring stormy weather, farmers enjoyed a relatively mild back-end, after what had been a trying year of difficult weather conditions.

    Many farmers were able to extend their grazing season and the majority of seasonal rainfall was below their long-term averages in September and October.

    However, rainfall was very much dependent on location.

    Just three very wet days were recorded in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, in comparison with 17 very wet days in Newport, Co Mayo.

    Overall, the report indicated that rain levels have intensified as winter has set in.

    November saw above-average rainfall for most of the country, with the west and northwest particularly hard hit.

    The last part of November and beginning of December were wet and this is reflected in the rainfall figures.

    Totals for the past two weeks are above normal almost everywhere. They were over twice the average values across the southern half of the country.

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