THE NFU has appointed consultants Campbell Tickell to complete an independent review of the governance of Red Tractor.

It follows the controversial introduction of a voluntary module that attempted to create a “single consistent industry approach” to sustainability reporting”.

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The “Greener Farm Commitment” was announced as a voluntary module that would not be formally inspected in the way that formal standards are.

In its release about the new measure, Red Tractor said it had attained an ‘unprecedented level of support’.

But both the NFU and Ulster Farmers Union expressed concern over the new measure – in particular consultation with farmers and how it was announced.

Review

The NFU ultimately owns Red Tractor alongside NFU Scotland, the Ulster Farmers’ Union, AHDB, the British Retail Consortium and Dairy UK.

The union said in a statement that the review would “establish Red Tractor’s decision-making procedures and its transparency; examine who is consulted by Red Tractor in its development of standards and look at the balance of this feedback, and how Red Tractor engages with stakeholders”.

“Having examined the effectiveness of these processes, it will identify any obstacles which need addressing.

“Through interviews and survey work, the review team will speak to a cross-section of those involved across the Red Tractor process, including farmer representatives, to determine how those processes work currently.”

In late January, the emerging findings of that review will be presented to NFU Council and the Red Tractor Ownership Body which has agreed to “own the findings of the review and also approved the terms of reference”.

The final report should be made available in mid-February, the NFU added.