At present, UK organic farmers can export their produce to the European Union provided they meet certain standards. But if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31, EU-certified organic food will still be able to come to Britain until 2021. However, British farmers will not be able to export to the EU in the same way - meaning they will face a smaller market for their goods and harsher competition at home.
The government has said it is working to ensure UK organic standards remain recognised by the EU going forward.
Rupert Cox, chief executive of the Bath and West Society, was outspoken on the issue at a Brexit briefing event held near Shepton Mallet on Wednesday afternoon: "We will decimate the organic food industry if we do not crack this. There is still a huge chance that we could leave next week with no Agricultural Bill. There are crops going into the ground with farmers who have their fingers crossed."
Ananda Guha, the deputy director for exports and EU exit within Defra, replied: "The government will match the level of common agricultural policy payments - that is guaranteed until 2022."
Speaking after the event concluded, Mr Cox said leaving without a deal would put Somerset producers at a great disadvantage: "The impact of a no deal is that it is unlikely that any organic producer will be able to export anything from the day we leave probably for seven or eight months, because it will take that amount of time for the EU and UK governments to understand what the implications are.”
According to somersetlive.co.uk¸ Cox said "hundreds" of businesses could be impacted negatively by this change, citing the milk industry as an example.