05 Jul 2024
by Oli Hill

AIC welcomes new Defra Secretary Steve Reed and outlines agri-supply sector priorities


The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) has welcomed Steve Reed MP as the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) following the 2024 General Election outcome.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has appointed his Cabinet after the Labour Party formed a Government today (5 July).

As Chief Executive of the UK's agri-supply trade association, AIC’s Robert Sheasby congratulated Steve Reed MP on his new role and stressed the need to provide certainty for the UK agricultural industry by tackling several important policy issues left incomplete.

AIC represents 230 businesses in the animal feedcrop protection and agronomyfertilisergrain trading and seed sectors within the supply chains that feed the nation.

Robert Sheasby, AIC Chief Executive

Mr Sheasby said: "On behalf of AIC, I congratulate Steve Reed MP on his appointment as Defra Secretary. The agri-supply industry now desperately needs greater certainty to give businesses the confidence to invest.

"The early General Election means there is profound uncertainty on a number of essential policy issues left unfinished by the previous government.

"This includes the National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products, due diligence on forest risk commodities, regulatory reform proposals in the Food Standards Agency (FSA), precision breeding (gene editing) legislation, and a land use framework strategy.

"AIC strongly supports the Government’s manifesto commitment to seek an improved trade agreement with the European Union by negotiating a functioning veterinary or “Sanitary/Phytosanitary (SPS)” agreement. This could have significant benefits for the entire agricultural supply chain, including UK farmers.

"Our country needs a comprehensive, cohesive approach to food security with an independent, statutory committee providing a joined-up, cross-government strategy. We also need a standardised approach to sustainability in the supply chains which make up our food system."

"We look forward to working with the new UK Government to deliver for modern, sustainable, commercial agriculture."

On Monday, 8 July Daniel Zeichner Mp was appointed as a Minister of State for Defra with AIC also congratulating him on his new role.

Visit AIC's Election 2024 manifesto webpage for full details of its asks of the new UK Government, including expert commentary on key policy issues for Ministers to focus on.

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About AIC

As the UK agricultural supply industry's leading trade association, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) represents businesses in key sectors within the supply chains that feed the nation.

Its Member businesses supply UK farmers and growers with the animal feedfertiliserseedcrop protection productstrusted advice and quality services that are essential to producing food, as well as trading crops and commodities across the globe.

Formed in October 2003 by a merger of three trade associations, today AIC has over 230 Members in the agri-supply trade and represents £17.8 billion* turnover at farmgate.

AIC works on behalf of its Members by lobbying policymakers and stakeholders, delivering information, providing trade assurance schemes, and offering technical support.


AIC Services, which is the professional services arm of AIC manages a range of services, including Assurance Schemes and professional registers recognised by the UK Government as essential tools to underpin feed & food safety alongside fertiliser security.

These schemes and professional registers include:


*According to a 2023 survey of AIC Members.

Press Contact

Oli Hill, Communications Manager, AIC 
+44 (0)1733 385230
[email protected]


Oli Hill

Oli Hill

Communications Manager, AIC

As Communications Manager, Oli creates and oversees the content published on AIC's website, emails, Member briefings, print publications, and social media.

A qualified multimedia journalist, he previously spent six years working at Farmers Weekly magazine as a Senior Reporter on the arable team, and latterly as Community Editor. More recently he was Communications Manager at Red Tractor.

[email protected]
01733 385230

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