NFU president Peter King has criticised Defra's environmental focus, saying it urgently needs a "new direction".
King, who made the remarks at this week's Royal Show, said Defra should add a new Public Service Agreement (PSA) for productive agriculture.
Defra's current two PSA targets were climate and the environment, but food production needed to be higher up the agenda if the industry were to tackle growing concerns over future food supply, he said.
"The agenda has moved on, and yet Defra is not moving with it," King said. "Any business that stuck doggedly to a three-year business plan and took no account of vast changes in its operating environment would find itself in the bankruptcy courts - we cannot afford to take that risk when it comes to our food security."
King also said there were mixed messages coming out of government over key issues such as set-aside, seasonal workers and animal disease.