Farmers can help drive a productive and competitive cereals industry post-Brexit by inviting decision makers out on farm this harvest and showing them first-hand the value of UK grain production – that’s the message from the NFU as it kick starts another year of its #YourHarvest campaign today.
Alongside showcasing to MPs the significant contribution of arable farmers to the economy, food supply and environment, this year’s #YourHarvest will also emphasise the potential for growth post-Brexit, if the right agriculture policy is achieved.
NFU combinable crops board chairman Tom Bradshaw said:
“Grain production is an incredibly important part of day-to-day life, quite literally providing the bread for our tables. The supply chain employs more than 43,000 people and contributes £3.5 billion to the national economy, and the grain we produce forms the foundation of the UK food and drink industry.
“Yet crops is currently one of the only areas of farming given no tariff protections if we leave the EU without a deal. Its importance simply must not be overlooked as Brexit discussions continue over the next few months."
“We want to see MPs working with farmers to develop an agriculture policy that enables us to capitalise on future opportunities; increasing productivity, delivering more for the environment, contributing towards our net zero aspirations and growing in value to the economy.
“All arable growers have a role to play by inviting their local MP on farm this harvest to show them why investing in the future of cereals is so important. We really do have a great story to tell, so let’s shout about it.”
The NFU is handing out #YourHarvest campaigning guides to members at Cereals today which will provide the tools to help MPs build their understanding of what arable farming delivers for the nation.
Visit the NFU on stand 331 at Cereals on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June. Find the NFU’s full schedule here.
Five top tips to help you engage with your local MP
1. Do your research
- The website www.theyworkforyou.com can be a useful tool to understand MP’s views and voting record. If you are an NFU member, the NFU's external affairs team can also help with background information on the MP.
- Understand whether they are a backbench MP or hold a role in government, as this will impact whether the MP is able to take up some actions on your behalf.
2. Invite your MP out on farm, maybe even on a combine!
- In your invitation, be clear about why you’d like them to visit you.
- An opportunity to join you on a combine, or rather the photo opportunity, might help to persuade some!
- Invite them on a Friday, when MPs tend to be in the constituency or during any weekday over the summer recess.
- Plan an itinerary for the visit and prepare a Plan B in case of bad weather.
3. Be positive when talking to MPs
- Be clear on the issues you wish to discuss and what the MP can do to help.
- MPs hear about ‘problems’ all day so give them workable solutions and tell a positive story.
- Welcome any staff accompanying the MP as they may be the one who has to take up any follow up action following the visit.
4. Agree a follow up action
- Ensure they agree to some follow up action for you such as writing a letter to a specific minister, asking a parliamentary question or tabling a debate on a certain topic.
5. Tag them on social media
- Post on social media thanking the MP for their time and make sure you tag them – a picture of you both on a combine wouldn’t go amiss either!
- Use the hashtag #YourHarvest and encourage other farmers to get involved.
- Remember, the more positive the post, the more likely the MP is to share it.
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