Fruit and veg growers are facing unprecedented inflation and static or deflating returns. It is anticipated that 50% or growers will disinvest or leave the sector. Government policy should be designed to support and grow the sector. If you are elected as PM, what specific immigration, energy and food policies will you change or adopt to grow the sector?
All sectors are facing huge pressures. For the poultry sector the realities of Brexit mean impacts on trade and the removal of access to the people we require to operate our businesses. Whilst our sector is left to contract, the door is open to product from other countries that does not meet the same standards that we produce to in the UK. Last week in our hatchery business where we hatch 10 million chicks per week, we had to reduce this number by 2 million chicks in order to bring some control back into supply. My question to you, is what would a labour government do to ensure that we have a level playing field to compete with our European counterparts and that crucially we have enough people to run our operations 365 days of the year in order to feed our domestic population?
Sir Keir, last summer I took the opportunity to question the current Prime Minister at the NFU leadership hustings. In the light of the consistent reductions of over 50% in TB cases in England following the introduction of farmer led and funded badger culling, would he commit to retaining this policy as a tool in the toolbox to eradicate TB? He replied that would be the case. We are still waiting for clarity on the form this will take as various zones reach the end of their licenses. I would like to ask you to commit to retaining the cull policy in the 2035 TB Eradication toolbox and to keep politics out of animal health strategy.
Sir Keir, the Labour party, traditionally doesn't have a high level of support in rural constituencies & yet farmers tend to do better under a Labour government. How do you plan to persuade farmers to vote for you in the next election and do you have a safe parliamentary seat vacant for an enthusiastic Cheshire farmer who wants to help make a difference?
After losing hundreds of pedigree cattle to TB and my three year old son even testing positive for it, our herd has now enjoyed 18 months clear of the disease after five years of highly successful wildlife control, alongside other measures. Will you commit not to interfere with the Bovine TB eradication policy for political reasons and instead be led by evidence and the expert Bovine TB partnership, to ensure we don't sacrifice the great progress being made?
Sir kier we are seeing continued food shortages across many agricultural sectors due to unsustainable supply chains! What would your government do to avoid this in the future?!
Can the free market be trusted to pay a fair price for sustainable food and natural capital?
Since the start of badger culling in England, the incidence of TB in cattle has fallen by half. This has been achieved by 13,000 highly trained operatives over an area of 32,000 sq km, paid for by farmers. To date, DEFRA has vaccinated badgers over an area of 400 sq km with a staff of 20. Surely even the Labour Party has to admit that vaccinating badgers to have any effective impact on TB is futile, and that in order to prevent the disease from once again spiralling out of control, the culling of badgers must be allowed to continue.
Sir Keir, over recent decades the Labour party has frequently allied itself with the views of animal rights activists rather than those who live and work in the countryside. Can livestock farmers trust Labour to support and promote livestock farming and our livestock based products both at home and abroad?
Many farming families live in poverty, rely on food banks and benefits to provide for their own families whilst working 7 days a week to produce food for the nation. What will a labour government do to address rural poverty & change this narrative?
As a farmer who is very happy to welcome people to the Peak District, farming as I do near to such iconic places as Castleton and the Derwent dams. Our family farm has footpaths, bridleways and open access land under the CROW Act 2000. However to open up more of land to open access would make farming our grazing cattle and sheep very difficult. We already have to cope with dogs chasing livestock, gates being left open and litter. We also have to think about visitor safety when grazing cattle in fields where people can access. Can I have reassurance a Labour Government will not impose greater public access but instead encourage and incentivise a voluntary approach?
Sir Keir, recent polling shows rural support for the Conservative party at record low levels, driven by widespread anger about this government's treatment of farmers, rural communities and food production. Yet Labour seems content to use the countryside to play for urban votes, with its most prominent positions being on culture war issues such as a ban on the successful control of bovine TB in wildlife, reopening the issue of fox hunting, and right to roam. When will you engage on the big issues facing every farmer in this room, like ELM, trade, and access to migrant labour, and seal the deal in the countryside?
Do you 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
Last summer, the government launched a food strategy which rightly recognised the growth potential for UK horticulture. We are only around 50% self sufficient in vegetables and 15% self sufficient in fruit. To be able to compete with imports that have a higher water footprint, lower wages, access to crop protection products that are illegal here and more food miles, we need government policies that enable us to invest. What would a labour government do to Back British growers?
Just last week you challenged the Labour party to "never agin be captured by narrow interests" - can you confirm that this will be extended to riding our countryside of the blight of TB in cattle and wildlife
In light of recent food shortages and rationing on supermarket shelves, global challenges be it conflict or climate, and the present governments lip service to food security. What commitment will the Labour Party give rural industry to give businesses the confidence to not only stay but also invest in our future?
I welcome today’s speech and acknowledgment of the pressures and uncertainty that farmers face. An electoral map shows Labour has a big challenge in taking seats in rural sectors. With reports such as A STRONGER GREEN AND DIGITAL FUTURE not even mentioning farming, how can the people in this room put trust in your party today as you move away from being an ‘urban’ party?
Will a Labour Govt have a food security policy that sets out levels of self-sufficiency in temperate foodstuffs that it will strive to achieve?
It is essential for the future security of UK Livestock farming that APHA is properly resourced to cope with multiple challenges like avian influenza and bTB. What would the Labour Party do to ensure that happens?
Sir Keir, the Conservative party has turned its back to rural Britain, its fantastic food produced to the highest standards and rural communities of whom many depend on the success of farming as does tourism!? How will you and your potential government back farmers, their families and rural communities?
We live in an increasingly unstable world, and we’re all interested to hear how you will ensure UK food production does not decrease further under a Labour government. Is the Labour Party still committed to planting 2bn trees by 2040 - estimated to require the sacrifice of a million acres of farmland?
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 is the Labour party going to do over the next 2 years to make farmers from the UK place Labour banners in their fields instead of Conservative Banners
Within your manifesto for the environment you’ve mentioned how you will support AONB’s & National Parks to enhance the landscape, but how will you support farms outside of these areas that face geological and geographical barriers on their journey to Net Zero?
Sir Keir, despite being optimistic that you can change the narrative around the Labour Parties relation to agriculture, how can you not as an opposition in comparison but you individually design and manufacture the respect farmers deserve, when rural constituencies time and time again choose to trust the conservatives and form safe seats
This question goes on from the right to roam questions. This wild camping and encouraging more right to roam . Allowing this and wild camping on rewilded land you wanting . What do you think will happen at night when they want cook some food and have drinks etc round a camp fire which is exactly what will happen . That much higher fire risk to area thus meaning far higher chances off burning areas and what happens to the encouraging bio diversity and wildlife if all we end up happening is it goes up in smoke with BBQs
I believe under a labour government public rights over private land will be extended through right to Roam. Are you aware of how disasterous this will be for urban fringe farmers like myself for whom the general public already cause a lot of issues. An extension of right to roam could essentially right off productive livestock fields in our area, especially during sensitive times in the farming calendar.
Given the overwhelming evidence that the British workforce does not want to do the type of agricultural and food processing factory work that we need done, will the Labour Leader commit to allowing us to have free and easy access to the labour force we lost as a result of Brexit.
Can you confirm that Labour will continue to follow the science when it comes to disease eradication especially bTB where the control of wildlife, alongside other tools, has proven to work.