During a wide-ranging debate with members and NFU Vice-president David Exwood, Mr Zeichner said that the possibility of breaking up Defra was “worth a discussion” and was at pains to reassure farmers that although many agricultural policies would be reviewed, he was anxious to avoid a lengthy process that would adversely impact delivery.
He also told the meeting that although any new government would have to work within the bounds of fiscal responsibility he would try and make sure farmers had the resources they needed.
“I don’t want to see what happened to the British manufacturing sector during the 1980s happen to agriculture. There would be social consequences to that,” he said.
Policy needs differ
Mr Zeichner added that while he felt more effort should be made to ensure agricutural policies were not “broad brush” and could meet needs which often differed from region to region and county to county, he did not know exactly how this would happen.
At the show Mr Exwood also met Buckingham MP Greg Smith, and the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Jason Hogg, visited the NFU stand to discuss rural crime.