rory encourages government to help local farmers
Rory last week encouraged Government to ensure a local official was present at an NFU meeting, organised to help farmers better understand and cope with the extremely challenging conditions in which many now find themselves.
The meeting, held in Longtown, attracted over 30 local farmers from the surrounding area, where veterinary experts and representatives from Eblex took time to address concerns over both the dramatic rise in Liver Fluke and the extremely difficult trading conditions for lamb producers in the current market – described as the worst in over half a decade. When taken in conjunction with the disastrous weather conditions over the past 18 months which has led to a severe shortage of silage for winter feed, many farmers in the region are facing severe hardship this Winter. Eager for Government to remain abreast of the situation and understand the scale and extent of local farming problems, Rory wrote to Defra, who agreed for a local official to be present at the meeting. The meeting helped to clarify for the farmers present, the way in which the markets are likely to head and how best they can plan for it, as well as guiding them on how best to mitigate Liver Fluke through careful drug choice.
“Cumbria is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of a struggling farming sector, because agriculture forms such a significant part of our local economy. If the problems many of our local farmers are facing prove sufficiently severe as to put them out of business, the impact extends far beyond the farm and into the heart of our local communities.
Meetings like this one organised by the NFU are vital if farmers are to be kept as informed as possible on how best they can manage during such difficult periods. It is equally important that government is fully informed as well however, if policy is to reflect the reality of farming on the ground. I am very pleased to see Defra sent an official to the meeting, and I hope the feedback will lead to a strategy that ensures the on-going viability of our small, Cumbrian farms.”