Boris Johnson has thanked farmers in a video message to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) annual conference for keeping supermarket shelves stocked and delivery boxes filled during the pandemic.

Being freed from the “shackles” of the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy was “the moment when we start to realise the many opportunities we now have, not just for the benefit of our fantastic farmers, for all of you, but for our entire country”, he added. 

Farmers were now free to make use of “potentially revolutionary technology” such as gene editing, the Prime Minister said.

“This crisis has tested us all but also I think brought a new and wider appreciation of the incredible work that you do, that farmers do every day, and in all weathers.

“Now is the time to embrace a new, modern age for farming, building on what we do best, with high-quality produce made to a high standard, while at the same time, pursuing all farming can do to protect nature and tackle climate change, as we look forward to Cop26 in Glasgow in November”, he said.

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