Farmers press Government on key industry concerns at fringe event

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The NFU and its farmer members were given the opportunity to quiz senior Government officials about concerns with eradicating bovine TB, red tape, plant protection products, BPS, agri-environment schemes and much more in Manchester last night (Monday).

NFU President Meurig Raymond and Vice President Guy Smith were joined by Defra Secretary Liz Truss and Minister George Eustice at the NFU’s Conservative Party Conference fringe event.

“We are pleased that both the Secretary of State and farming minister attended our fringe event and answered searching questions from our members on important issues such as BPS, bTB, Countryside Stewardship and plant protections products,” said Mr Raymond.

“One of the key focuses of the event was the Government’s 25-year plan for food farming. It’s an ambitious piece of work and one which we as an industry will do as much as we can to support in order to help British farming grow and thrive.

“After the fringe meeting the Secretary of State will be under no illusion as to the importance of DEFRA fully implementing its strategy for bTB eradication. There was huge concern among our membership this year about the scale of rollout of the culling areas. That is why I urged Ministers to act now to help farmers remove all sources of this dreadful disease for the benefit of our livestock and our wildlife.

“At the same time we pressed the Government on more immediate issues such as the need for farmers to have farm payments as soon as possible, the lack of interest and confusion about the Countryside Stewardship Scheme and the increasing loss of essential plant protection products.

“We recognise the challenges that Defra faces – especially as it has contingency plans for a budget cut of between 25 and 40 per cent – but the NFU and its members will continue to engage with the Government and ensures it delivers on its farming-related manifesto pledges.”