YOUNG FARMERS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Rory has announced that he is to set up an advisory committee of young farmers from across the constituency. Rory has, during his campaign and since election as a member of parliament, been a staunch supporter of Cumbrian Young Farmers and has been working closely with Jan Davinson, secretary of Cumbria YFC to discuss the establishment of an advisory group. Rory hopes that the group will meet quarterly to discuss farming issues directly affecting the younger generation of farmers, and intends to relay their concerns to Ministers in Westminster. It is hoped that their first meeting will take place this autumn, and letters of invitation have been sent to a selection of representatives of young farmers’ groups within Penrith and the Border.
Rory commented: “My first encounter with Cumbrian Young Farmers was on a charity bike ride, last Spring; it was a great introduction to the crowd and I have seen many of them again at farms from Bewcastle to the Howgills, at the Northern Field day, at the Cumberland, Skelton and Penrith shows, at the marts, and in the street since then.
I am setting up a Young Farmers’ advisory committee in order to meet and talk regularly about the future of farming in Cumbria. Our focus will be on Cumbria’s unique needs. I am a real admirer of the NFU and would like to see it fight even harder in Government, but it is forced to represent farmers right across the country. Clearly a fenland Barley Baron has very different interests, views on subsidies and policy than a hill-farmer in Bewcastle; even within Penrith and the Border there are vast differences between dairy on the Solway plain and commons above Dufton. I am hoping that the Young Farmers’ group will help me to understand more about those different needs, so that I can fight our corner in Government. Farmers know more, care more and understand more about land management than any quango or civil servant. Government has to learn how to learn from farmers and benefit from their depth of experience, their passion and their common-sense. They have to learn to listen.”
Rory intends to work particularly hard on issues such as ensuring that a milk ombudsman has real powers; challenging new regulations like the EID tagging for sheep; and improving rural services from roads to rural transport systems to broadband, in order to ensure that the younger generations of farming communities are encouraged to continue living and farming in Penrith and the Border. He also considers it of vital importance that Cumbrian voices are heard in Brussels over the next two years, prior to the renewed Common Agricultural Policy in 2013.
Rory said: “We must make sure that Cumbrians are properly represented in that process. I will be working to persuade every DEFRA minister to visit Cumbria, plan to go to Brussels myself, and will be talking continually to groups like the Young Farmers’ advisory group to make sure I am carrying the right messages on their behalf”.