Our annual series of countryside days has got underway in Wiltshire.
A tractor, supplied by local machinery dealer TH White, was parked outside the county council’s HQ in Trowbridge where councillors were invited to attend a presentation by farmers about the different farming sectors and the value of agriculture to the county.
County chairman Mark Jeffery welcomed councillors to the meeting, which included contributions from council delegate Max Sealy, deputy chairman David Ullyott, Andy Rumming, Fiona and Mark Lockyer, and NFU regional director Melanie Squires.
More than 20 councillors were present, and were keen to ask questions on a wide range of topics including planning, contracts, farm gate prices, broadband provision, transport, diversification and of course Brexit. Devizes MP Claire Perry also came along to show her support.
During the day, members of the public were invited to show their support for British farming by signing a ‘pledge apple’ which was then hung on a special tree in the glass-covered atrium of the council buildings. The tractor proved to be a popular attraction all day, with people taking selfies or sitting on the bales provided by Chippenham chairman Nick Bush.
“It was very encouraging to see how interested the councillors were in the issues affecting farming,” said Wiltshire county adviser Ed Humber. “We will be making sure we follow up on all the points that were raised.”
Similar events are being organised across the region over the summer, either on farm or at council premises, when key decision makers and stakeholders will have the opportunity to hear directly from farmers about the importance of agriculture.