LAST week saw a historic moment for the UK.

We left the EU.

This moment in time and what follows should bring significant change.

Change many have called for and are hoping for.

But will it?

Our expectations at the FUW are measured.

In the short term, there may not be much we can expect to change.

In fact, if there are any big changes in the short term, it could go very badly indeed.

On February 1, the UK’s first day out of the European Union after some four decades, we aren’t really and truly out.

Not in the way that a prisoner is “out” once they leave the jail.

Instead, we are on a very carefully managed probation period - or in this case “implementation period” as we transition to January 2021, when we quite possibly could be “out”.

But on February 1 - nothing changed.

It is vital that we all understand that on February 1, nothing changed or even will change.

We are to all intents and purposes still inextricably linked to EU regulations when it comes to the way we farm and care for animal health and welfare and, of course, care for the environment.

Any breaches of the rules will put at risk the longer term relations - so the standard will stay the same, no bureaucracy will disappear and, in fact, nothing has changed.

So please, please, please do not think that just because we are out of the EU that you can stop following EU rules, because by then they will all be UK rules as well.

They have been adopted, wholesale, from the EU to make sure that in trading terms at least, we are still aligned.

And, of course, allied to this will be the inability of other countries to instantly flood our home markets with products, because trade deals will not have been agreed and signed.

And that takes time.

The chlorinated chicken won’t be here in February, but unless we work hard to stop it coming it might arrive sometime - something that we must resist.

If we are working to the highest of standards we cannot possibly allow a Government to accept a deal that allows food produced to a standard that would be illegal in this country to enter this country and our food chain.

How this all plays out, of course only time will tell.



Farmers' Union of Wales