Dear Combinable Crops and Sugarbeet Members,

During our recent Combinable Crops and Sugarbeet board meeting we discussed various critical points. We all noted it has already been an incredibly tough time for growers this season and expect the anticipated small UK harvest will bring the issue of imports to the front of many farmers’ minds.

Communications: The meeting highlighted communication with growers as a pivotal area, a key recommendation of the Campbell Tickell report.  Red Tractor committed to be more transparent about what the  team is working on behind the scenes on your behalf. Industry colleagues round the room also agreed that sector board members can do more to be public advocates of the scheme and the work of the Crops Board.

Import Equivalence : One of the key pieces of work we are exploring is an alternative entry level animal feed enterprise for Combinable Crops and Sugarbeet Scheme members. This new standard would aim to be in line with legal minimum and provide more choice for farmers that only want to sell into the feed grain market. We have made progress in drafting the standard and consulting widely with industry stakeholders but recognise our feed assurance scheme partners at AIC and their merchant members need to consider the proposals carefully. We also look forward to the publication of AHDB’s Independent review of the farm and trade assurance processes, which will help cast more light on the impact of imports on the UK.

Environmental farming: Regarding the now axed Greener Farms Commitment, I clarified that Red Tractor would not introduce a similar module unless explicitly requested by the industry. Nevertheless, it’s evident that other organisations are advancing in carbon footprinting and related initiatives, some of which provide direct financial benefits to participating farmers. This raises an important question about Red Tractor’s role in improving the efficiency of new environment-related audits for farmers. But again, we will take the industry’s lead on this.

RED: An update was provided on the ongoing issues around maintaining member’s ability to supply into the renewable energy market. Red Tractor, along with colleagues from AIC and SQC continue to work with the European Commission and other worldwide voluntary schemes to maintain access into this valuable market despite ongoing legislative issues. The board and notably the farmer representatives, were grateful for the update on this workstream and the value this provides to RT members.

Events: I’m looking forward to meeting with many Red Tractor farmers at the upcoming Cereals event in Hertfordshire 11-12th June. Red Tractor is on Stand 238 where the team and I will be happy to speak to anyone with questions or suggestions (and you can pick up some NRoSO points!).

Kind regards,

Kit, Chair, Combinable Crops and Sugarbeet

Members of the Crops board:

Angela Bowden – Oilseed Crushers  

Jamie Burrows – Cereals grower

James Cox – Cereals grower

Matthew Culley – Cereals grower

Julian South – MAGB

Patrick Mitton – Pesticide Issues Consultant

Brin Hughes – BOBMA

Tom Wood – AIC/Grain Merchants

Peter Chandley – Weetabix

David Eudall – AHDB

Nick Morris – Sugar manufacturer

Alistair Gale – UK Flour Millers

Gill Barrow – AIC/Grain Merchants

Ed Dale – Sugar beet grower

Nigel Davies – TAC Chair

Harriette Roberts – BRC