Cambridgeshire farmer and CLA President Tim Breitmeyer has released a statement outlining the organisation's view on the challenges and opportunities of 2019.

He said: “In the New Year, we will begin to see the implications of how the political chaos surrounding the proposed Withdrawal Agreement will affect farming, land management and rural businesses.

"A No Deal Brexit would be disastrous for the countryside.

"At the CLA, we will do all we can to avert this eventuality, but it is imperative that in the meantime, the industry, our supply chains and the Government come together to put emergency plans in place.

“Our work will continue to ensure post-Brexit agricultural policy makes farming profitable in parallel with environmental management.

"It is a priority in 2019 to ensure once transition begins in 2021, that a funding black hole does not appear as the Basic Payment System (BPS) is gradually withdrawn. "The CLA shall continue to press the Government to commit to delivering farm profitability and genuine, well-recognised public goods as we transition away from current direct payment towards a new system.

“Another high priority in the year ahead is how the farm productivity proposals in the Agriculture Bill are rolled out.

"I am confident that with advice and input from the CLA, the Government can set out a suite of measures that farms can tap into to help increase profitability.

"I am less certain though that ministers are pressing for a sufficient budget.

"Driving home the message that this crucial aspect of post-Brexit farm policy must be properly resourced is another of my main responsibilities to the industry in the coming year.

“2019 promises three new government policies on the environment, food and forestry.

“Building on the crucial contribution that landowners and farmers already make to protecting and enhancing the environment, food production and tree planting, we expect further support in the Environment Bill and new food and forestry strategies to continue our important work.

“The CLA will be looking to ensure these are designed to promote the production of healthy and affordable food, restore and enhance the environment, be robust in the face of future challenges and build upon a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector.

“The year ahead will see further traction in the fight to improve mobile not-spots in the countryside. Our 4G For All campaign to increase the speed of delivery of 4G mobile coverage to rural areas achieved strong cross-party support across Westminster in 2018.

“We were delighted by Ofcom’s recent announcements that there will 500 new mobile masts in rural areas, greater transparency for the consumer and the very first steps towards rural roaming. We will continue to work with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Rural Business and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport during 2019, to make sure that these good intentions are acted upon and that the people who live and work in the countryside get to reap the transformational benefits.

“Of course, I can’t predict exactly what 2019 holds for us as an industry, but I am quite clear of one thing - it involves a lot of hard work to make sure a post-Brexit world emerges in the best interests of the rural economy. I will continue to do all I can to ensure rural businesses and communities are allowed to flourish.”