Growers are facing unprecedented inflation in costs (23% for apple) and static or declining returns (0.8% for apple). Please can you convene a round table of supermarket retailers (with the GCA?) to press for fairness in the supply chain and to seek assurances that returns will reflect true inflationary costs?
In the last 3 years. £3.3 billion of the apprenticeship levy across the whole UK economy was unspent and went back to the treasury – how can a fair share of this money be used to promote training and upskilling in farming?
I’m farming both inside and outside the Peak District national park. The park attracts 14 million visitors worth £730 million to the economy. The number one reason they visit is to enjoy the landscape I and many other farmers, have created and maintain – a public good. ELMs is about rewarding the delivery of public goods, yet the payment rates are calculated on income foregone plus costs. As a mixed upland grassland diary farmer the payments do nothing to address the gap in income caused by BPS reductions. When will Government actually reward me for delivering multiple public goods, the public goods so valued by visitors to the Peak District, and move away from using income foregone to calculate future payments?
The main stumbling block to persuading those who fly tip rubbish in my fields to stop doing so is that the penalties for this offence are inappropriate. 95% of fines for flytipping are less than £1,000. When will your government seek to address the Sentencing guidelines council and ensure that fines for fly tipping are no more than an occupational hazard.
Will the Govt recognise the excellent work of the recently published Rock Review on tenancy reform? It is important especially in the Uplands, that these recommendations are acted on and not just consigned to a "dusty shelf"!
Why did the Government decide that British Glasshouse Growers were not worthy of additional energy support. This had lead to lewer and later crop plantings resulting in empty Supermarket Salad shelves and increased overseas imports.
Applications for slurry storage is becoming increasingly frustrated by Natural England and local authorities overreaching their statutory obligations. Can the Minister help us cut some slack with planning?
Growers need seasonal workers who can learn the role, work the season and return for at least two further growing seasons. This delivers high productivity levels which keeps food process from inflating. Please can you confirm that the visa will be extended from 6 to 9 months and that workers will be allowed to return after 3 months rather than the current 6 months?
In a recent Westminster Hall debate Minister Harrison was looking at how best to support Upland Farmers which have been widely recognised as been disadvantaged under the SFI. For example, payment rates of £151ha for lowland, low input grassland and yet only £98ha for the same in the Uplands Will Defra do away with the outdated Income Foregone Model and pay equally for environmental outputs wherever they are delivered? Or an alternative version: After taking the Farming Ministers recent advice, I have looked again at the ELMS and the figures still don't add up for Upland farmers. The "for how little can they get buy in" approach will not work and have the opposite effect on biodiversity and the environment . Why do you value public goods differently in the Uplands? Carbon is carbon, birds are birds, flowers are flowers and grassland is grassland, so if it delivers the same public goods why isn't it paid the same?"
Many parts of the horticulture sector are highly energy intensive, whether that is for heating and lighting glasshouses, or for running cold storage. Yet the sector has not been recognised in the ETII scheme from April, meaning our government support is effectively coming to an end. Alongside labour costs, energy has been the biggest driver of inflation and is directly adding to food inflation. What will you do to ensure energy intensive horticultural businesses are added to the ETII scheme and do not face another year where we have to leave glasshouses empty.
Growers are facing unprecedented inflation and static or deflating returns. It is anticipated that 50% or growers will disinvest or leave the sector. Please can you confirm that the wage premium for the Seasonal Workers Scheme will be removed for the 2023 season?
Agriculture is not alone in facing numerous challenges in finding Labour and enticing new entrants, when is government going to wale up an realise we need drastic improvements to the current SAWS scheme for at least the short term, improved apprenticeships that work for both employer and apprentice, and above all STOP painting agricultural workers as unskilled as it is undermining the huge levels of skill, technology and opportunities the industry can offer
Does the current government see agriculture as one way to boost the economy out of a pending recession with maybe a new agricultural Revolution if so in what ways
the government have had 7 years to work out the future agriculture *policy and schemes why are we still awaiting clarity in payments and unilateral access to those schemes
Could we have more clarification on the river abstraction reduction for irrigation water that the Environment Agency are currently proposing?
The Rock Review noted the importance of County Council Farms to assist new entrants in starting their businesses. When will the government and treasury adequately support councils financially to ensure not only that these holdings are retained, but also maintained to a good standard?
When are we going to get some honesty from government about trade deals or do we have to wait for ministers to resign before they tell the truth?
Recently the chancellor urged early retirees to help boost the economy by returning to work and pledged to "look at the conditions to make work worth your while". I'm 56, fit and active and love my work, but as I struggle to decipher the government's vision for agriculture early retirement looks like the smart option. Cuts to BPS payments, the slow introduction of viable replacements, rising input costs, difficult trading conditions into the EU and damaging new trade deals with the rest of the world are shrinking my profits. I fear that delaying my retirement canl only make me poorer. Time is wasting, will there ever be a coherent government strategy to nurture conditions that can reassure me that continuing to farm for the next 10 years will be worth my while?
As the country is well fed by the farmers in this conference room many people are simply focusing on energy security rather that food security. East Anglia is being carved apart by “green” energy infrastructure as it comes on land from the wind farms in the North sea. Why is there no strategic approach to energy infrastructure for the East of England to help farmers with this onslaught?
From April 2023 could the Government please ensure the seasonal worker rate of pay which last year increased by a considerable 13.5% ,stays the same ,or rises no higher than the National Living Wage which is increasing this year by 10% to £10.42 from April .
The CVO (Chief Veterinary Officer) made it clear in a Public Accounts Committee hearing, her concerns about adequate resources for the APHA. Cattle farmers know APHA is already stretched with AI by the way it impacts on TB control, including delays in Gamma testing and licences. If there was a category 4 or 5 disease outbreak such Foot and Mouth or African Swine Fever – the latter is creeping ever closer across Europe - how would APHA cope?
For the last 50 years, our farm has supported four local conservative candidates in the general elections by placing conservative banners in all our fields near major roads and motorways. What are conservatives going to do over the next 2 years to make farmers from the UK carry out that tradition?
In light of the appalling number of accidents and deaths on farms should TV Production companies be prosecuted for filming dangerous practices in order to make programmes more entertaining.
Will Defra make it a requirement for all poultry flocks under 50 birds to register on the GB Poultry Register as an invaluable tool to control, contain and eradicate Avian Influenza as well as improving communication to backyard flock keepers. A win win outcome for keepers and poultry alike.
I was involved with the NFU in the 90s and spent a lot of time on the process of integrating new EU directives with existing UK legislation. If the EU legislation is scrapped then aren't we going to need to spend a lot of time replacing the UK legislation that was repealed?
Minister, you mentioned about speaking to students and engaging with the next generation, but how do you encourage them to get into farming? What support are is there available, or in the pipeline, to encourage the younger generations into this industry?
The slurry infrastructure grant is using public money to throw at expensive ineffective covers for farmers to reduce ammonia emissions. There are cheaper ways available to stop ammonia being released like crusts. Why is the funding not being spent on slurry separation and ways to make the most of our slurry and muck to reduce reliance on artificial fertiliser
Country of origin food labelling rules. Need to be more robust, yes or no?
What is the government doing in order to make the UK an attractive place for migrant workers to come to and help harvest our crops, when they get better pay, conditions and are made more welcome in the EU.
In England we have the lowest level of TB since 2007 and a 20% decrease year on year in the number of cattle slaughtered for TB. The TB Eradication Strategy is working and much of that is down to the success of industry led badger control. I understand that Vaccination field trials are underway, but I believe it will be several years before evidence is available to confidently assess the impact and benefit to the farming industry. It is vital that we use all the tools available, but we must have access to those that we know already work, including targeted badger culling where necessary, to avoid there being a significant gap in disease control and all the investment made by farmers and government being lost. Therefore, can the Rt Honourable Minister please explain to my fellow farmers, when will targeted epi-led culling be made available? And how will it work?
More than 1000 farmers have submitted an expression of interest for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant, three times more than anticipated. Can the Minister agree to review the budget for this grant so that as many farmers as possible can plan for improved slurry storage on their farms.
In the Uplands it seems that ELM (particularly SFI) is actively discriminating against businesses and environmental gain in SDA designated areas. This after all an arbitrary line on a map. BPS rates were levelled up between SDA and lowland so would it be also reasonable to ‘level up’ SFI payments rates between these areas to facilitate maximum environmental benefit by allowing full accessibility to SFI to all farms and reduce complexity?
New entrant support during this parliament has been disappointing. When planning your next manifesto will you consider investing more in the next generation of farmers to create confidence within many ambitious entrepreneurs throughout the industry?
The UK horticulture sector continues to face unprecedented levels of inflation, yet the government last year chose to artificially inflate wages in the horticulture sector with the very late introduction of the Seasonal Worker Scheme wage. Wages are a hugely significant proportion of our production costs and the seasonal worker scheme wage is directly adding to food inflation when all other costs are rising sharply. Will government do the right thing and remove this unnecessary policy so as not to make the inflation challenge even worse.
LIS the livestock information service that is the much needed replacement for BCMS & is long overdue. LIS will allow cattle keepers, livestock markets, buyers and sellers to have a modern digital system with all animal information on it, including: Movements, previous holdings, TB status, amongst other things. Minister we need to get this done! Can you give us some assurance that this will be given the priority that it deserves and the cattle industry will not have to wait much longer.
The farmers of this country can produce more food and save the planet at the same time. Why is the government more interested in us planting trees and wildflowers than producing food? I wonder if the minister has ever been hungry for more than day. Please give us the tools and we produce the food.
Are you as proud of the Australian trade deal as your predecessor?
Has the great county of Herefordshire got a future in producing food ? Or is your government going export production of Top & Soft fruit, hops, potatoes, salads & vegetables, red and white meat to water depleted, rainforest depleted and regulation depleted parts of the world ?
Minister, Baroness Kate Rock’s tenancy working group reported to Defra Ministers last autumn. When will Ministers respond to her report? What are the principal changes you think are necessary to ensure that all tenants can invest and engage in a rapidly changing business environment?
Minister, When DEFRA realises that the new SFI hedgerow measures announced in January will neither achieve the desired uptake nor the desired environmental outcomes, will you immediately reconvene the Practitioner Working Group to help you revisit the Hedgerows package with a view to actually reflecting the view previously held by DEFRA that 'Hedgerows are probably the most important ecological building block in the farmed landscape'?
What checks are Defra implementing at our borders regarding imports to ensure our livestock and horticultural industries are kept disease free?
Why is there such a profound difference between Countryside Stewardship payment rates for the same option; Managing permanent grassland with very low inputs, within a Severely Disadvantaged Area £98/ha and outside of SDA £151/ha, I have looked through the details of the option and there is nothing in them to justify such a difference in the income foregone plus costs calculation as the outcomes of both GS2 and GS5 are the same. With success being measured by flowering species including grasses and areas of scrub, there is nothing that suggests a price differential based on productivity or determined by a shorter growing season.
BTB is a devastating disease. In the last decade we've made huge strides to eradicate the disease. Will the Minister assure livestock farmers that he will swiftly implement the next stage of BTB control, following the science?
One of the biggest Brexit bonuses was touted to be the re-framing of EU retained legislation. Pesticide legislation is a case in point. So two years after Brexit, how’s it progressing?
Recently the government set up the department for energy security and net zero. How much of a priority is food security to this government in comparison?
As a consequence of climate change and the war in Ukraine impacting on food security at what level of self sufficiency is this Government comfortable with, both now and going forward after the next election ?
Climate change; Covid; the war in Ukraine and a jolly big boat jammed in the Suez Canal: with retail price inflation of imported food running at twice the rate of that produced at home, isn't it time government embraced a food security strategy?
As a dairy farmer I manage every corner of my farm for forage. I’ve looked at the SFI offer. While I welcome the new grassland options, the majority are not practical to implement. Will government support me to deliver clean air or net zero e.g. paying for greenhouse gas audits?