Red Tractor delays Green Farm module

8th November 2023 | Crops, Livestock, UK Policy & Regulation

Assured Food Standards, the not-for-profit industry body that manages the Red Tractor assurance schemes, has put the implementation of its controversial Greener Farm Commitment (GFC) environment module on hold.

The original proposal to introduce the new voluntary module from April 2024 sparked a volley of protest from farmers, concerned that the GFC had been developed without farmer involvement and that it would benefit retailers more than growers. Last week the NFU Council opened two reviews – one into Red Tractor governance and the other into the role of assurance in the food chain.

The AFS board now says it supports both NFU reviews and will co-operate fully with them. It also states that Red Tractor will not progress with the implementation of any new standards or additional modules until the governance review is completed. The NFU expects this to report in January, so it could be compatible with an April GFC launch.

“The strength of feeling from farmers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has become clear to everyone,” concedes Red Tractor chair Christine Tacon. “It has been a difficult period across UK agriculture, which has brought forward frustration from farmers that runs deeper than just our proposals for an environment module. We recognise that and have decided that the NFU’s independent review of Red Tractor governance must come first.

“There will be no decisions on the implementation or timing of the GFC or on other changes to existing Red Tractor Standards until that NFU review is complete. Any continuation of work on an environment module would need to include more detailed dialogue with farmers and supply chains and consider relevant government policy on agriculture for all UK nations,” Ms Tacon concludes.