The Ulster Famers' Union and three other UK farming unions have called on the UK's newly-elected MEPs to listen to the views of agricultural communities and "help shape an enabling policy environment" for the 75,000 farmers they represent.
The presidents of the four unions - Ivor Ferguson (UFU), Minette Batters (NFU), Andrew McCornick (NFU Scotland) and John Davies (NFU Cymru) - made the call in a joint statement issued in the wake of the European election results.
"The newly-elected UK MEPs will take their seats in the European Parliament in July and it is crucial they recognise the significant role they will play in shaping the policies that impact on farming businesses. This new parliament will be pivotal in determining the nature of our future regulatory environment and we are keen and ready to meet with them," the statement said.
“There will be a number of new faces from the UK taking up their seats as MEPs from the start of July and we want to ensure they understand how important our industry is for the economy, for the food chain and for the environment. We also want to continue engaging with familiar faces who were successfully elected for another term."
The statement added: “Our industry faces a number of challenges over the coming years, not just in relation to Brexit but on issues such as climate change, agricultural and environmental policy, plant protection and animal health and welfare. There will also be opportunities for farming and we must ensure that we make the most of these opportunities to build a forward-looking, progressive and resilient sector that benefits farmers and consumers throughout the UK.
“We would like to invite all UK MEPs onto farms in their local areas to discuss a range of priority issues and to answer any questions that they might have. We are also inviting them to meet with us in person in Brussels and with our permanent staff in our Brussels office, the British Agriculture Bureau.”