Rushcliffe MP, Ruth Edwards, held her fourth Agriculture Forum this week with a special guest.
The pair met with local farmers and National Farmers Union representatives, to discuss the current challenges in the farming sector and how farming will look in the future, with the introduction of new technologies and the UK’s new system for farm payments, the Environmental Land Management Schemes.
Some of the key issues raised by the group were the availability of labour and rural crime.
All participants agreed that they have seen a significantly improved response from Nottinghamshire Police, with visits made by local police officers to every farm in Rushcliffe, to discuss security concerns.
Farmers also highlighted their struggles to get supermarkets to pay a fair price for their produce.
The farming minister assured the group that new regulations in this area would mean that dairy farmers receive fairer payments and similar changes are planned for the pig meat, egg and horticulture sectors.
This all comes after a flurry of announcements to support farmers on “Back British Farming Day” last month. These included backing calls to encourage customers to buy British when shopping online and hiring new agri-food attaches to unlock new trading markets and help boost UK food and drink exports.
Discussing how technology could be used to support farmers, the minister highlighted that the Government plans to spend over £270 million across its farming innovation programmes before 2029. This will allow farmers to invest in new equipment where there is scope to boost productivity.
Mark Spencer said:
“I’m delighted to be here in Rushcliffe this afternoon talking with farmers who work tirelessly year-round to produce high-quality British produce.
“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to discuss how we can best support farmers to be profitable, productive and farm more sustainably, including through our new farming schemes and investment in technology and innovation, and would like to thank Ruth for inviting me here today.”
Ruth said “I am very grateful to Mark for taking the time to come and meet with us. We have fantastic farmers here in Rushcliffe and I was really pleased to give them the opportunity to speak with the minister about the challenges and opportunities in modern farming.”
NFU Nottingham Group Secretary, John Ollerton said:
“We are delighted that Ruth has arranged for the Minister of State, Mark Spencer, to meet with ourselves and NFU members to discuss key rural issues at a tumultuous time for UK farming.
“It is great to know that the concerns and interests of local farmers can be taken further by Mark and Ruth in Westminster and I thank them for their commitment to speaking up for farmers.”
Ruth aims to hold these meetings at regular intervals. If you are a farmer in Rushcliffe and you want to get involved, you can register your interest by emailing her at email@example.com to get added to the invite list.