News article

Brexit: How the farming sector can prepare

4 February 2021


Actions farmers can take to prepare for after the transition period

The UK has left the EU. your farming business will need to take steps to prepare for the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021. 

Farm and rural payments: EU funding
EU funding for rural payment schemes including the Basic Payment Scheme will continue during the transition period.

To get payments, you’ll need to follow the same standards as you do now. Where relevant, this will include on-site inspections to UK farms. The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will continue to administer the schemes.

Preparing for disruption to trade at the UK-EU border
To minimise disruption to your business at border points you should take the following steps:

If you do not import and export products directly check that any agent or business you use is prepared.

Read the guidance on simplified customs procedures for trading with the EU from 1 january 2021.

Further information is provided in HMRC’s advice for businesses trading with the EU.

Arable and horticulture: plants and plant products
After the UK leaves the EU, plants and plant products (for example, vegetables, seeds and fruit) currently managed under the EU plant passport scheme will be subject to UK import controls. There is a new process you must follow.

Read the guidance on importing and exporting plants and plant products from 1 January 2021 and plant health controls.

Seed exports
You’ll need to list the seed variety you’re exporting on the EU Common Catalogue via a member state.

Livestock or animal products
The way you notify the UK authorities of these imports will change. If you export animals or animal products from the UK to the EU, you’ll need to follow a new process.

Read the guidance on importing high-risk food and feed not of animal origin and importing and exporting live animals and animal products.

Animal breeding imports and exports (zootechnics)
Unless the EU lists UK breed societies and studbooks you will not be able to export animals to the EU on zootechnical terms.

Imports from the EU, and domestic UK zootechnical trade, will not be affected.

Read the guidance on changes to zootechnical rules from 1 January 2021.

Organic imports and exports

To import from third countries from 1 January 2021, you must use the interim paper-based system that will replace TRACES NT.

Unless the EU gives the UK official recognition for our organic standards (known as ‘equivalency’), you cannot export UK organic products to the EU.

Find out more about trading and labelling organic food after the transition period.

Marketing standards
Products that may be subject to changes include:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
The same controls on the environmental release of GMOs will apply and will be implemented by the competent authorities in the UK.

For more information, see developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from 1 January 2021.

Fertilisers
You’ll still be able to buy the same amount and quality of fertiliser. For 2 years after the UK leaves the EU, all products can still be sold under:

  • the domestic framework
  • the EC fertiliser label

For more information, see manufacturing and marketing fertilisers from 1 January 2021.

Your employees
There are certain schemes and processes you should be aware of if you employ people.

Find out more in Employing EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members after 1 January 2021.

Employing seasonal workers
You’ll still be able to employ seasonal workers from the EU. European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EEA citizens arriving in the UK after 31 October2019 to live, work and study in the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.

You can use the EU seasonal worker information for employers to give further details to your employees.

Food and drink labelling including organic produce
If you’re involved in the agri-food business, labelling rules will change for some food and drink. Read more in the guidance food labelling changes after 1 January 2021.

Pesticides regulations
You must meet new regulations for producing or placing pesticides on the market.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will continue to operate as the UK’s regulator. Read their guidance on regulating pesticides from 1 January 2021.

Chemical regulations
If your business uses chemicals, you should:

You should check contingency plans across your supply chain to find out what information you need to supply to UK agencies, logistics providers, suppliers and customers.

Water regulations
You must still meet the conditions in your permits or licences that relate to water. Regulations using the same processes and standards will remain after 1 January 2021.

For more information read the water management guidance.

Trade agreements
The way you access existing favourable arrangements with non-EU countries may change.

Read the guidance on changes to trading with non-EU countries that have a free trade agreement with the EU.

Preparing to move goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland
Goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland will have different procedures compared to other UK-EU trade.

Read the guidance on customs procedures and VAT for goods moving between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Tariffs
The UK will implement a temporary tariff regime for up to 12 months.

Most UK imports would be tariff-free, but in certain sectors, such as agriculture, tariffs would be maintained.

Check the temporary rates of customs duty on imports from 2021.

More information
Visit the transition period to find more guidance on policy changes relevant to your sector and sign up for updates.