Tough lobbying challenges brought to life

03 October 2022

Minette visited Richard Yarwood's farm in Cheshire

Realities about the complexity of agricultural political lobbying at this moment in time was made real for NFU Cheshire members who were told starkly that things are currently tough by NFU President Minette Batters.

“For example, there are no practicing professional people on the Government’s sentience committee. No farmers and no vets. This leaves only the people who applied to be on the committee, namely academics and representatives from animal rights NGOs. This is an enormous worry for our industry,” explained the President, who’d dropped into NFU Cheshire County Chairman Richard Yarwood’s Handfield Farm in Congleton before attending Weston Discussion Group’s 70th anniversary celebrations.

A delegation of the county’s NFU Farming Ambassadors were invited to go along and question Minette on Tuesday 20 September.

“The role of the NFU has never been more important. We are genuinely the only body prepared to challenge these people,” added Minette.

“The NFU is here to hold authorities such as the sentience committee and the Environment Agency to account on the issues that matter most to our farmer and grower members.

“The atmosphere is massively pressured right now, and I want to put an end to our adversarial relationships. Increasing food production should be at the top of the agenda for everyone.”

Rob Ford of Brindley Hall Farm asked: “If we are not producing ammonia in this country, we are also not producing CO2. Where is that going to come from?

“Government say we have an adequate supply,” replied the President.

“When we have the size of population we have, production of CO2 is going to be a concern. In the future we are going to have to create more for ourselves.”

Joe Bramall of Well House Farm, just outside of Chester, asked: “What opportunities do you see for me as a smaller dairy farmer?”

Minette answered: “The fact we have such a huge population that we currently take for granted. The ability for you to trade online. If you’re smaller, it’s going to be better to go down an added value route. Farmers will have to create resilience within their own businesses.

“It’s going to be a massive time of change Joe. Recognise and embrace the challenges. I have to remind myself that this is a major reset moment for agriculture. The war in Ukraine and Brexit has mainly driven this.

“People need to eat and for the first time in my life this is really being put under pressure. Things have to change.”

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