Above: NFU Fringe Event at the Labour Conference in Brighton, 2015
Ministers from the major political parties will be quizzed on farming issues of the day as the NFU hosts a series of Fringe Events at their annual conferences.
The Food and Farming Debate will tackle issues such as rural broadband, labour supply, bovine TB, and the future domestic farming policy.
Headline panellists include Defra Secretary of State, Andrea Leadsom and Defra Minister for Agriculture, George Eustice at the Conservative fringe event, and Rachael Maskell, Shadow Defra Secretary of State at the Labour fringe event.
The Liberal Democrats’ Food and Rural Affairs Spokesperson, Baroness Parminter will be among the headline speakers for the party as their conference kicks off the season in Brighton on 19 September.
NFU head of government and parliamentary affairs, Matt Ware, said: “Members may be familiar with hearing politicians’ views on the television, in the newspaper and on social media.
“This is the chance to speak directly with the people at the heart of the decision making process and influence farming policy of the future.
“The day-to-day farming issues should not be overshadowed by a total focus on post EU referendum discussion. It is important for politicians to hear from the people who are most affected by the decisions they make. For those with an agriculture portfolio that means farmers and growers.
“They expect tough questions and I am sure that our members will have plenty to keep them on their toes.
“Our fringe events are not a case of party political broadcasts. They are a fantastic opportunity to hold MPs to account at a time when everything is up for grabs.”
The NFU officeholder team will also be on the panel to answer questions on the organisation’s policies.
The events are chaired by Julia Glotz, managing editor at The Grocer, and Alistair Driver, formally from Farmers Guardian.
The NFU is the only farming organisation to hold fringes at all the conferences and have a bigger attendance than any other rural or food related fringes, with over 200 people at the Conservative fringe and around 80 at Labour and Lib Dem fringes in 2015.