NFU members in Lincolnshire hosted Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin on-farm today (28 April) as part of the NFU East Midlands’ ongoing campaign for the reauthorisation of glyphosate and to discuss the EU Commission’s new proposal to ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoid seed treatments in non-bee-attractive crops.
Danny O’Shea, NFU’s Holland (Lincs) county adviser, said: “Emma McClarkin MEP met farmers and growers at Irelands Farm in North Rauceby, Lincolnshire to discuss the industry’s call for glyphosate to be re-authorised and to see first-hand the damage losing this vital plant protection product would have on both the industry and the environment. We urged Ms McClarkin to help the industry retain glyphosate for use across all UK farming types and sectors and to take our message back to Brussels.
Members made sure to highlight the EU Commission’s latest proposals to widen current neonicotinoid restrictions, which would ban all uses on field-grown crops, extending its current restrictions to include non-flowering crops. We highlighted the devastating consequences a blanket ban of neonicotinoids on outdoor crops would have on arable and vegetable crop production.”
Responding, Ms McClarkin said: “It’s been great to be here today with the NFU and local farmers who face a very real problem. The EU is trying to ban glyphosate, a product that has been proven by EU scientists to be safe to use, and politicians in Brussels are simply playing politics with it. They should be listening to the science and making informed decisions about something that will have a massive impact here in Lincolnshire and across the whole of the UK."
Ms McClarkin said she would take farmers’ messages back to Brussels and the corridors of power in Westminster.
Walking around Mark Ireland’s fields, Ms McClarkin saw first-hand how blackgrass can affect wheat production and why we would need 546,000 hectares more land (3.4 times the size of London) to grow the same amount of food as we produce today.
Danny O’Shea continued: “It was great to see Ms McClarkin take the time to really get to grips with the issues we face. The loss of glyphosate will have a massively detrimental effect on both the industry and the environment.
It really is maddening to learn that the EU Commission is now proposing a widening of current neonicotinoid restrictions, extending current restrictions to include non-flowering crops. Once again it appears that these decisions are politically motivated and not evidence and risk-based as they should be.
The proposals would not only impact major crops such as cereals but also sugar beet and vegetables, as there are no effective alternatives to neonicotinoid seed treatments. This is before we look at the environmental impacts.”
NFU East Midlands’ members will continue to meet MEPs on farm to stress the importance of glyphosate and neonicotinoids. The NFU will continue to mobilise our local branches to talk to MPs, again on farm, to make sure they understand the issues the industry and the environment faces.”