AN upland hill farmer shares his thoughts on farming after Brexit. Greg Dalton and his family have farmed the land at Wellhope farm in upper Weardale for generations and has kept the bleak uplands in order.

Mr Dalton said: “Farming, just like the nation is divided on Brexit, EU legislation and hoops can put a lot of farmers off, but on the other hand you have access to a huge trading partner that is close by.

We need frictionless, tariff free trade with the EU. If borders mean an increase in tariffs, then the price of lamb may go up and this has a knock-on effect on the farms and farming creates jobs in other industries."

In 2015 exports 40% of lamb abroad and 95-100 percent of that goes to the EU. France is the main destination, followed by Germany but there is fear the market could collapse if no deal is reached.

Mr Dalton is optimistic about Britain’s post-Brexit future if there is a trade deal with the EU but fear the consequences if the Government could not reach a deal. He told the Northern Echo: “The positives are there but if we do not get the deal it will be a disaster if links are pulled out of the chain it will all collapse. It will ruin the countryside even the look of it, which will then have a knock-on effect on tourism. The new farming bill has mentioned food and climate change, but the government needs to do more to help farms. Right now, it’s a win-win situation food is delivered fast and direct payments are received.”

UK will be looking to strike trade deals with other non-EU countries in the coming years. The United States has been a high priority on the list. However this is a concern to some in the farming community according to Mr Dalton who warns against lower quality meat, he said: “The USA is a concern they have lower standards to animal welfare and could put British farmers out of business. Buy British as we have higher standards, imports may not have good standards. The way foreign countries produce food would be illegal in this country. British farmers have done a lot to reduce the use of anti-biotics on animals and we are a lot further down the line with quality inspections. It can be difficult for the consumer to differentiate. People complain about the price of food but its actually very cheap due to the climate being right for farming.”