Simpson meets Defra minister

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Upper Bann MP and member of the DEFRA Westminister Select Committee, David Simpson has met with the new DEFRA Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom, and assured her of his full support as Northern Ireland farming enters into a new post-Brexit era.

Commenting following the meeting in London, Mr Simpson said: “The new Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has provided UK farming with an opportunity to build a more confident and prosperous industry.

“My meeting with Mrs Leadsom was positive with a huge range of issues facing Northern Ireland farming being discussed. It was made very clear to her that during the upcoming trade negotiations; agriculture must not be treated as the poor cousin in any deal. Northern Ireland has a unique position with our land border with the European Union and this needs to be taken into account.

“The minister is aware that farming has a vital role to play as the backbone of Northern Ireland’s economy and that the concerns of farmers must be adhered to. There is huge uncertainty within the industry at the moment and it is up to government representatives to reinstate confidence.

“Discussions with my party colleague Michelle McIlveen and representatives of the industry will continue during the weeks ahead. I have pledged a commitment to rebuild the relationship between DAERA and DEFRA over the coming months and I look forward to seeing a more prosperous agri foods industry outside of the EU.”