Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Agriculture inquiry

Inquiry status: concluded

Report published on Monday 22 October 2018. Government Response published on Thursday 20 December 2018.


Report published


The Committee will consider the opportunities and challenges for Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector in the light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The inquiry focused on livestock and arable farming.

Terms of Reference

  • Are potential challenges and opportunities for Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector post-Brexit properly reflected in DEFRA's consultation on The future for food, farming and the environment?
  • For those working in the sector; what have been your main concerns about the current system (e.g. on funding, regulations, policies etc.) and how could post-Brexit policy make improvements?
  • Do smaller farms in Northern Ireland have different requirements post-Brexit to large farms?
  • How important is the EU as an export market for Northern Ireland agricultural produce?
  • How can future UK trade policy best support Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector?
  • What funding will Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector require post-Brexit? What should future agricultural support in Northern Ireland look like, and what goals should it seek to achieve?
  • What particular challenges does the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland create in terms of future agricultural policy, regulation and trade? How can these challenges best be resolved?
  • What future cooperation with Ireland will be necessary in relation to agricultural regulation and management of the environment across the island of Ireland?
  • How important are non-UK workers to Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector? How can the labour needs of Northern Ireland’s agricultural sector best be met in post-Brexit immigration policy?
  • In the absence of an Executive how can the UK Government best engage with local communities and farmers to develop a post-Brexit agricultural policy? To what extent does current intergovernmental machinery provide for engagement which might be necessary between the UK Government and Northern Ireland Executive regarding post-Brexit agricultural policy, and how might this machinery need to be improved?


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