How to Prepare if the UK Leaves the EU with No Deal: Farming

BrexitThe UK will be a ‘Third Country’ after Brexit, March 29th 2019. This has considerable implications for Scotland’s successful Farming Industry.

Breeding of Animals

( purebred equines, cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, hybrid breeding pigs and their germinal products.)

As a member of the EU pure bred animals  (and their germinal products e.g. semen) are automatically treated as a pedigree by an equivalent breed society in another EU member state.

With a no deal Brexit that will no longer happen.

“UK-recognised breed societies and operations involved in the trade and movement of purebred livestock and germinal products would no longer be recognised societies or operations in the EU.”

To be registered with the EU in future the animals must be  accompanied by a zootechnical certificate in accordance with the existing EU legislation.

EU breeders will continue to have access to the UK as they do now – for an unspecified time.

Plant Varieties and Seeds

EU plant variety rights are managed by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), an EU agency. The EU regulations for all 28 countries mainly apply to crop seeds but it also ensures quality for ornamental/ garden plants.

With a no deal Brexit EU plant variety rights granted up to that point, including those held by UK businesses, would continue to be recognised in the remaining 27 EU countries.

After this any new application would have to be made to the UK’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and also to the EU’s Community Plant Variety Office. Two sets of fees will also be required.

Regulation of Pesticides (Plant Protection Products – PPPs)

If there is a No Deal Brexit the UK Government will set up its own PPP system. All current products already approved can continue to be used after March 29th 2019.

New applications will have to be submitted for approval to the new UK body and also to that of the EU body.

“Elements of the current regime, which rely on EU membership, would no longer be able to operate in a no deal scenario e.g. the arrangements whereby EU countries can choose to mutually recognise product approvals and also parallel trade permits.”

The UK Government is aiming to have a 2 year transitional period.

UK Businesses are being advised to plan ahead if they wish to apply to sell new products in the UK and the EU. They will have to check with both to ensure they have adhered to the requirements.

Regulations laid down by the European Food Standards Agency would continue to apply in the UK.


Currently there are two sets of regulations  for producing and marketing fertilisers – one for the UK and one if businesses wish to sell to the EU.

With a no deal Brexit there will be no change to the regulation of fertilisers which have been for sale in the UK only. The UK Government has suggested a 2 year period when EU registered fertilisers could continue to be sold in the UK so that there will be  no shortage of supply to our farmers.

The UK Government intends to  publish a new list of laboratories approved to test to the standards required for the new ‘UK fertiliser’ label.

“The laboratories would need to meet the same requirements as they do now and test against the same standards as set out in the current EU Regulation.”

Farm Payments

As a member of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the EU, many farmers in the UK receive financial support. This is particularly the case with Scotland, Wales and N Ireland because of harder conditions and being further from the markets.

The UK Government’s organisation DEFRA is in charge of the negotiations over CAP funding. however, the management – up until Brexit – has been done by the Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. (N Ireland is currently being run by civil servants).

The UK Government ” has pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this parliament, expected in 2022: this includes all funding provided for farm support under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the current CAP. This commitment applies to the whole UK.”

The same standards required by the EU will apply in order to receive payments.

Rural Development Funding

This funding comes under Pillar 2 of CAP. These are things like projects to improve the environment or encourage rural businesses.

“The UK government has guaranteed that any projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime. “

It appears that instead of simplifying the farming sector leaving the EU with no deal would actually make things more complicated for any farmer  or business wishing to market agricultural products in the 27 countries of the EU. Instead of one set of application documents needed the agricultural sector will have to provide two sets of paper work in order to comply with both UK and EU regulations. This will have added financial costs with increased administration required.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


Photo by Kenny Armet

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