The four UK farming union presidents have called on the 73 newly elected UK members of the European Parliament, following last week’s election, to listen to the views of agricultural communities and help shape an enabling policy environment for the farmers they represent.

This is despite the uncertainty over how long the new intake will be in place – especially if the UK leaves the EU with no deal at the end of October, the single policy objective of the largest UK contingent of Brexit Party MEPs.

“The newly elected UK MEPs will take their seats in the European Parliament in July and it is crucial they recognise the significant role they will play in shaping the policies that impact on farming businesses,” say the unions.

“This new parliament will be pivotal in determining the nature of our future regulatory environment. There will be a number of new faces from the UK taking up their seats as MEPs and we want to ensure they understand how important our industry is for the economy, for the food chain and for the environment. We also want to continue engaging with familiar faces who were successfully elected for another term.

“Our industry faces a number of challenges over the coming years, not just in relation to Brexit but on issues such as climate change, agricultural and environmental policy, plant protection and animal health and welfare. There will also be opportunities for farming, and we must ensure that we make the most of these opportunities to build a forward-looking, progressive and resilient sector that benefits farmers and consumers throughout the UK.