A fair deal from Common Agricultural Policy reform, a determination to tackle disease and better weather top the wish list for farming in 2013.

Harry Cotterell, president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said UK farmers and land managers deserved a “fair and sensible” deal over CAP reform that enabled them to compete with their European counterparts.

It was “vital”, he added, that the postponed badger cull goes ahead this summer to help “combat the scourge of bovine TB”.

Mr Cotterell hoped for much drier conditions in 2013 to help farmers grow their crops and prevent the cancellation of major farming events such as the CLA Game Fair show.

“The dreadful weather conditions we had to endure in 2012 cost the rural economy upwards of £150m,” he said.

Farmers’ Union of Wales president Emyr Jones warned that food production was not keeping pace with demand and the political and wider implications over the coming years were “truly terrifying”.

“Population growth and food productivity, coupled with rising energy costs, climate change and a host of other challenges, mean that what we now face is unprecedented,” he said.

Ulster Farmers’ Union president Harry Sinclair said he wanted to see farming’s poor safety record improve significantly in 2013.

“I would ask every UFU member to give farm safety serious consideration – if there is anything you can do to make your farm safer, then take the time to do it in 2013.”

Mr Sinclair said paying farmers a fairer price for their produce would be a “central issue”. Persistent bad weather and the rising cost of feed were putting farmers under financial strain.

“Regrettably, the food chain again failed to work under these circumstances, with supermarkets and processors ignoring farmers’ rising costs of production,” he added.

“It remains a fundamental issue for the UFU to create a food chain that delivers a fair price for farmers. We hope the introduction of the UK supermarket adjudicator will have a positive effect.”

NFU president Peter Kendall has already called for “fresh thinking” on farm policy from the government as farmers and growers across the UK continued to suffer from the consequences of extreme weather.

Mr Kendall said the appalling weather of 2012 had left a financial black hole on Britain’s farms amounting to £1.3bn.

More on this topic

NFU: £1.3bn black hole caused by 2012 weather

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