If you are in a social situation where conversation flags, a good topic to kick off a debate is to ask what will end up as the defining outcomes of Brexit.

In agriculture there will be many. That is no surprise given that for close to fifty years the industry had its wagon hitched to an initial eight and an eventual 27 other member states.

One negative defining outcome will be the loss of political influence for the farming lobby. The government at Westminster cares little about agriculture and increasingly does not even make a pretence of doing so. The biggest gains the industry achieved came not from anything that happened at Westminster, but because of decisions in the EU the UK was then forced to implement.

To that end, all the UK farm lobby organisations punched well above their weight in COPA, the body that represents EU farm unions. Alliances with other farm unions led to policies at an EU level that benefited farmers in the UK. The position is now very different, with a government that cares little about the views of the industry.

Devolution and what it can deliver is now the name of the game. But the loss of the benefits that came from close links to the French and Irish farm unions and the policy influence of their governments in Brussels will certainly be a negative defining outcome from Brexit.

Terms like 'fortress' as in Fortress Europe are also slipping away. This tough stance towards imports was a protection for agriculture that was important but taken for granted. It is the reason that after close to 20 years the trade deal with the Mercosur countries of South America has still not been ratified. The farming lobby across Europe has been very clever at moving the goalposts in this debate from the threat it posed to the beef industry to environmental issues.

There are no such sentiments towards imports in the UK. The government wants to be seen globally as a free trading nation, leading the charge for that to be the default position in trade deals. That will be another defining policy difference. The EU response will be thanks, but no thanks. It prefers to use its offer of 500 million consumers as a trump card in trade negotiations.

These are big negatives for UK agriculture, but a more positive defining outcome could come from science. This is an area where Brexit could deliver a truly beneficial outcome for agriculture, freeing it from the shackles imposed of the EU 's anti-science stance. This is evident over its blanket opposition to genetically modified food. Science is routinely ignored because the complex EU voting systems demands qualified majority support and a number of countries will always line up to prevent GM approvals.

Last week the EU formally approved ten GM maize varieties, but at the same time admitted these were unlikely to be grown in Europe. They have passed all the safety tests, including clearance by the European Food Safety Authority, but will join a long list of similar products blocked by bizarre voting rules.

Love or loathe GM products, there is something essentially wrong with a situation where politics holds sway over the view of independent scientists. It is unlikely the UK will go down the GM route, although as an EU member state it supported GM approvals when others united to block them. Where a defining outcome is likely to emerge is over gene editing. This is very different to GM because it effectively only accelerates what would be achieved through conventional breeding.

The EU is also considering some relaxation of its views on gene editing, but while the UK is enthusiastic the EU is acutely aware the opposition over GM is still there and is likely to make its presence felt over gene editing. This offers the UK a real opportunity to embrace 'good' science that has the potential to make agriculture more productive and greener. For years the EU has been weighed down by its obsession with the precautionary principle when it comes to science but now the UK has a real opportunity to make a break for a different future.

That could end up being the most positive defining outcome from Brexit. It is one that for agriculture, provided it is handled properly, could sweep away a lot of the negatives that have stemmed from Brexit.