The Amer­i­can dream: a po­ten­tial Bri­tish night­mare

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

AS Bri­tish farm­ers face the big­gest shake-up in food and farm­ing since the Sec­ond World War, new con­cerns are emerg­ing over the po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing ef­fects of a post-brexit bi­lat­eral trade deal with the USA. Al­though some Bri­tish farm­ers see Brexit as a ‘once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity’ to change food and farm­ing pol­icy, oth­ers are anx­ious that cheap im­ports from coun­tries such as Amer­ica may jeop­ar­dise Bri­tish pro­duc­tion.

Pres­i­dent Trump has vowed to sign a ‘very pow­er­ful’ trade deal with the UK and David Trow­bridge, Pres­i­dent of the Iowa Cat­tle­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion, adds: ‘We have the re­sources to pro­duce a very de­sir­able prod­uct and Bri­tain is a great pos­si­bil­ity where we can go with our prod­uct and in­crease our prof­itabil­ity.’

At present, Bri­tain im­ports 0.1% of its beef from the USA, with 76% of beef home-grown. Less strin­gent an­i­mal-wel­fare and en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards and meth­ods such as in­ject­ing growth hor­mones and re­ly­ing on corn-feed­ing en­able Amer­i­can meat pro­duc­ers to lower their sell­ing prices. De­spite most Bri­tish con­sumers con­firm­ing their al­le­giance to Bri­tish-grown pro­duce, Guy Smith, vice-pres­i­dent of the NFU, is scep­ti­cal, wor­ry­ing that price some­times sways con­sumers more than any other fac­tor. MB

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