Thérèse Coffey new Defra secretary of State

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The agricultural industry has reacted to the appointment of Dr Thérèse Coffey to the position of Defra secretary of state in Rishi Sunak’s new government.

Mark Tufnell, President of the CLA, said: “We warmly welcome Dr Thérèse Coffey to her new role, in a department with which she is already well familiar having served there in 2016 – 2019.

“Her in-tray is already full. The UK Government’s flagship Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes set out an ambitious and welcome direction. However many farmers are yet to be convinced the schemes are right for their business, not helped by very poor communication from Ministers about their intentions for the schemes through the recent political chaos.

“We call on Dr Coffey to work quickly to improve the schemes – not least by fast-tracking key elements of SFI standards and announcing measures for 2023 and beyond. This will give farmers the confidence they desperately need that ELM can help them feed the nation as well as help to improve the natural environment.

“The previous Government created a new role of Minister of Rural Economic Growth. It was an important move that recognised the enormous economic potential of rural businesses. It is vital that this role is maintained, giving Government a laser-like focus on removing the many barriers to starting and growing a business in rural communities.”

Minette Batters

Responding to Thérèse Coffey’s appointment, NFU President Minette Batters said: “I would like to congratulate Thérèse Coffey on her appointment as Defra Secretary of State and thank Ranil Jayawardena for his work during his term at Defra.

“This is a crucial time for the country and I look forward to discussing some of the solutions British farming can bring to the table when it comes to growing our economy by producing more climate-friendly food for markets at home and overseas. British food and farming is currently worth more than £100 billion to the nation’s economy and has the potential to deliver so much more, in particular in our fight against climate change.

“We are at a pivotal time for agriculture policy. I look forward to working with the new Secretary of State to provide urgent clarity for farmers and growers on the new Environmental Land Management schemes to ensure they can deliver a thriving food and farming sector, alongside and equal to continued environmental protection and enhancement.”

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