Speaking at HCC’s annual conference in Builth Wells, HCC chairman Kevin Roberts said it was vital for the organisation to deliver leadership protection for the turbulent times ahead.
He added that the industry was still “incredibly frustrated” by the lack of clarity on Brexit and HCC would protect the critical mass of production and defend the communities that are dependent on farming.
“With just a few months to go, our vital export trade, the rock on which we have built a sustainable premium industry, is still up against a possible Hard Brexit. And the industry is stuck in the middle,” said Roberts.
“A No-Deal Exit will almost inevitably mean WTO Tariffs. Let’s be clear. Tariffs mean trade turmoil and the immediate loss of a third of our lamb market. A Hard Brexit represents a long hard economic winter for our globally successful spring and summer lamb businesses.”
Despite the worries, Roberts was optimistic about the organisation’s Vision 2025 initiative and described it as its “agricultural armour” against Brexit challenges.
Vision 2025 identifies routes to help the industry embrace new strategic opportunities and address challenges and risks for trade, production and processing of red meat from Wales within a new post-Brexit framework.
The initiative received government funding by the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths.
“This year HCC has won Welsh Government awards of £1.5m for extra export support and £2.15m for farm business benchmarking,” said Roberts.
“In addition, over the next five years, the £9.2m Red Meat Development Programme will see HCC lead the change processes. We must help build the new, fit-for-purpose businesses that we all know must come about.”