A FARM assurance review, set up by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and AHDB, has taken steps forward. 

The review, which is an independent evaluation of the UK's farm assurance schemes, is also run alongside NFU Cymru, the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) and NFU Scotland (NFUS). 

Dr Llewellyn, lead commissioner and former vice-chancellor of Harper Adams University, will be working with three other independent commissioners.

It has been revealed that the other commissioners are James Withers, ex-CEO of Scotland Food and Drink and Mark Suthern, the chair of trustees of the Farming Community Network (FCN). The fourth commissioner is yet to be appointed. 

The commissioners have set the projects areas for investingation, as well as developed an engagement plan and established a timeline. 

The main topics of the project are: 

  • An assement of best practice
  • How methods of assurance can provide value to primary producers in a fast-changing environment
  • Evaluation of the relationship between assurance and regulation

Dr Llewellyn said: “The programme of work, which will cover seven distinct stages, will be aimed at letting anyone, or any organisation, that wants to share their views on this important subject be able to do that, regardless of where they sit in the supply chain.

"The commissioners welcome this engagement. We expect to involve farmers and farmer organisations, policy makers, food processors, retailers and consumer groups, as well as relevant trade associations and representative bodies. The work will go on until the end of the year, and periodic updates on progress will be issued to the farming and food community.

“We will be seeking contributions to the review, over the next few months, via an online survey, submissions of evidence from representative bodies and, where required, interviews and online focus group discussions. We want to ensure that we understand what works, and what doesn’t work, with assurance systems, so as to recommend ways in which the operating environment for the farming industry can be improved.

“Our evidence gathering will also involve direct engagement by the commissioners with stakeholders across the supply chain in a series of meetings being organised at agricultural shows and events over the summer.  The programme for these events, and other information about the Review, can be found on the commission’s website at: https://ahdb.org.uk/farm-assurance-review-latest-updates

“Reporting to the commissioners and not directly to the sponsors of the review, in order to ensure its independence and transparency, Promar International, working with Supply Chain InSites (SCI), will be supporting the work of the commissioners for the duration of the review.”