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Minister wants to work with farmers for “vibrant and profitable” industry

GOVERNMENT minister George Eustice promised investment to ensure a "vibrant and profitable" agricultural industry, during his visit to the 2017 Lincolnshire Show.

Minister wants to work with farmers for “vibrant and profitable” industry

A special briefing was held at the 133rd annual event today (Thursday, June 22), which was led by Mr Eustice, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

He fielded questions from farmers who were understandably interested in policies post-Brexit, after which he assured people that the industry was in safe hands.

But he steered clear of pledging a future that would be subsidy-driven, saying that he did not believe simply paying people for the areas of land they had was the way forward. Under EU policy, farmers are given subsidies, per hectare.

“We want to work in Lincolnshire with farmers to design policies which fit their needs.

“Area-based payments cannot be justified for the long term, instead we need to look at how we can support the building of a vibrant, profitable and confident industry,” added Mr Eustice.

His words were echoed by Conservative MP for Cleethorpes, Martin Vickers, who took in Grimsby headquartered law firm Wilkin Chapman's stand at the show, to learn more about the firm’s Future Farms Poll.

The survey, supported by the NFU, is asking farmers what their priorities are over the next five years. At the arable show Cereals last week, 42 per cent of those who took part cited agri-policies post-Brexit as their main priority, with sustainability a close second.

Mr Vickers said: “I recently had discussions with members of the farming community in my constituency and there was understandable concern about where policy will go from here. In the short term there will be no sudden change, and further change will be transitional, continued support will certainly be the case as every Government recognises the importance of the agricultural industry in this country, it feeds the nation.

“What we need now is for farmers to get in touch with their MPs if they have issues or concerns. There has never been a better time for local MPs to help shape and influence policy.” 

This is a sentiment echoed by NFU deputy president Minette Batters at the show yesterday where she addressed NFU members.

Catherine Harris, head of agriculture at Wilkin Chapman, pictured with Mr Vickers above, added: “As a firm with agriculture at its traditional heart, we are very keen to support the industry and our Future Farms Poll is a way of doing just that.”

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