RED TRACTOR has said it will not introduce new modules or standards while the NFU completes an independent review of its governance.

The announcement follows controversy over the proposed introduction of the Greener Farms Commitment module, which farmers said was done without sufficient consultation.

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Red Tractor had intended to bring in the GFC from April 2024 as a voluntary measure that aimed to standardise sustainability reporting

Red Tractor Chair, Christine Tacon, said in a statement: “As the team have been working with our Technical Advisory Committees and Sector Boards on the detail of the GFC, the strength of feeling from farmers across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland has become clear to everyone.

“It has been a difficult period across UK agriculture, which has brought forward frustration from farmers that runs deeper than just our proposals for an environment module.

Governance

“We recognise that and have decided that the NFU’s independent review of Red Tractor governance must come first.

“There will be no decisions on the implementation or timing of the GFC or on other changes to existing Red Tractor Standards until that NFU review is complete.

“Any continuation of work on an environment module would need to include more detailed dialogue with farmers and supply chains and consider relevant government policy on agriculture for all UK nations.

‘Views important’

“The views of our members are very important, and we are sorry that we have been slow to understand them fully.

“The discussion that has been provoked is essential and offers a great opportunity for the farming sectors and supply chains to work together.

“So, we expect these conversations to continue with our Technical Advisory Committees, Sector Boards, the new Development Advisory Panel and more widely.

“It is vital to talk more about the benefits of farm assurance overall, and the challenge of how to demonstrate progress on environmentally focused farming in each sector, for example.

“We hope this approach will help the NFU to achieve its goal of completing the first review by the end of January 2024.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work to the Standards already in place and support consumer trust in the Red Tractor logo.”