New Manifesto to support Agricultural Contractors

  • The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) has launched a new manifesto to ensure that the importance of contractors is recognised in agricultural policy across the UK

Over 91% of farms use a contractor and many farmers are now reliant on their services. Three key asks have been identified including:

Policy and decision makers must consider the role of contractors. This cannot be underestimated, and it is essential that our farmers ‘without’ land are recognised alongside their fellow farmers ‘with’ land in policy and funding opportunities.

 Contractors and farmers should be allowed/trusted to use their skill and professionalism to judge when inputs can be applied. This should not be managed by calendar dates set in Government legislation and guidance, which take no account of changing climate.

  Contractors must remain at the forefront of Government funding and policy to bring forward new technology in agriculture.

Jill Hewitt, NAAC Chief Executive commented, ‘In the run up to an election it is important to reflect on the vital input of our sector – as contractors may be ‘farmers without land’ but they are leading a new era of professional land managers and need to be recognised in all relevant policy development. This is especially important as our sector, like farmers, continue to suffer due to the wet winter and spring’.

The manifesto considers a number of additional issues which are also impacting on the industry, including requests:

 Government support is needed to cultivate the next generation of farm staff, whether working for contractors or farmers. Investment in training needs to extend to contractors to provide the next generation of technical operators on UK farms.

To retain a focus on food security and ensure that productive farmland can be used for sustainable farming.

The safety and mental health of our sector is supported by Government, with awareness of the pressures faced in agriculture.

It is critical to the future of our soils to provide pump-prime funding for land drainage and encourage farmers to make this a priority. Drainage is the building block of all soil management and without well-drained soil, management techniques such as regenerative farming and direct drilling will struggle to be successful on some soil types.

The full manifesto can be viewed here.

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