FARMERS have issued a stark warning to the Government that it needs to make decisions about how it will secure the nation's food supplies as Brexit looms.

Speaking as two conferences on farming got under way in Oxford, National Farmers' Union president Minette Batters said that, less than 90 days away from Brexit, there was still "enormous uncertainty" about the future and how domestic food production would fare.

The NFU warns that British agriculture could face huge disruption as a result of not being able to export agricultural products to the EU if its role as an exporter has not been reapproved by Brussels by March 29.

The lamb industry could be particularly hit as 31% of its produce was exported in 2017.

In a no-deal scenario, exports to the EU from the UK could face huge tariffs, with beef potentially seeing a 65% duty, and lamb suffering 46%, which could push up the costs for businesses.

Imports could also be affected, with severe delays at ports of essential items such as veterinary medicines, fertilisers, feed and machinery parts.

To avoid food price rises as a result of a no-deal Brexit, the Government could unilaterally lower import tariffs.

This would open the UK to goods that are not produced to the high standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection British farmers meet, the NFU said.

Mrs Batters said: "There have been enough warm words and comfort to us as farmers but now is time for decisions from the Government about how it will secure the nation's food supply.

"We are less than 90 days away from Brexit and there is still enormous uncertainty about the future and how domestic food production fits into that.

"When I speak to people about food, they do recognise the importance of our sector, to our economy, to our environment and to our food security.

"Food is one of the fundamentals of life. Its importance cannot be understated. A Government that fails to deliver a Brexit that gets this right will fail us all.

"It is crucial that Government engages with our industry to deliver a sustainable, competitive and profitable British farming sector for generations to come."

Her comments come as Environment Secretary Michael Gove is set to speak at the Oxford Farming Conference, where he will acknowledge the need farmers have for long-term certainty.

He is also set to reiterate his support for the Prime Minister's Brexit deal, which he says will see the UK leave the Common Agricultural Policy without the disruption of crashing out with no deal.

He will praise the role of British farmers in food production, and pledge investment in research and development to boost productivity on farmland.

Mr Gove said he could not "pre-empt" the outcome of the Government spending review later this year, but he would put in place policies that underpinned long-term investment in British agriculture.

He also said he hoped Parliament would support Theresa May's deal which they are set to vote on later this month.

"It isn't perfect, but let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

"It not only gives us a 21-month transition period in which current access is completely unaffected, it also allows us to maintain continuous tariff-free and quota-free access to EU markets for our exporters after that.

"It allows us largely to diverge from EU regulation after the transition, to leave the Common Agricultural Policy and end all mandatory payments to the EU."

Ministers have set out plans to pay farmers for providing "public goods" such as habitat for wildlife, planting trees to curb flooding and managing soil, after the UK leaves the EU-wide Common Agricultural Policy subsidy scheme.

As the rival Oxford Real Farming Conference also gets under way in the city, a farmer-led group says there must be "ambitious" minimum standards on wildlife, soil, water and animal welfare in the Agriculture Bill, which sets out policy for the sector as the UK leaves the EU.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) says such a move is needed to halt the environmental degradation that could undermine the land's ability to produce food in the future.