Rory, and local Cumbrian vet David Black, this week hosted the first Westminster conference of the Dairy Science Forum, pledging to support scientific research into issues affecting the British dairy industry. The objective was to bring together the best in British science and the best in British farming to improve British Dairy. Rory – whose constituency includes the largest concentration of dairy producers in England – opened the Forum, by focusing on the ways science can contribute to the wellbeing of the dairy cow in Britain, public understanding of dairy and the productivity of the dairy industry in general.

David Black, of Cumbrian Paragon Vets, is the Chair of the Forum and used his seminar to focus on new methods of measuring animal welfare.

The Dairy Science Forum, established in 1975, is an ad hoc group of individuals, each well recognised and specialised in particular segments of the industry. It looks to better understand and disseminate the contribution of research and development to diary science and practice, as well as define future areas of activity that may enhance efficient productivity and improve the wellbeing of the cow to fortify a viable dairy industry.

The conference, held this week in Westminster and entitled ‘Collaboration, Communication and Innovation’ enabled useful discussions on what the key priorities for research and development in the dairy industry should be, how funding of this research and development can be better co-ordinated, as well as looking at how to improve uptake of technical and business information through better knowledge and exchange.

Rory said: “I’m enormously proud to be hosting this event in Parliament today.  The Dairy Science Forum does great work for the industry and indeed the country. This science matters to us in enormously significant ways: economic productivity, animal welfare and public perceptions on animal welfare. I feel there is so much potential in this country within our agricultural industry. We are proud, as a government, that we are beginning to bring together a more focused strategy; but it is the people here at this conference today who can help us to bring various strands of development together in a meaningful way.”

David Black, Chairman of the Dairy Science Forum said: “We’re enormously grateful for Rory’s support. We aimed to help align the thinking throughout the dairy industry, by producing these strategy papers and identifying what we saw as the key issues.  By coordinating R&D across UK and Europe more effectively and by addressing the need for excellent knowledge exchange at all levels of the industry, we are in a position to empower farmers and advisers with the information they need, and give access to evidence based science so that the UK industry becomes ever more vibrant and competitive in world markets.  Addressing the needs of the animals themselves, and looking at the preferences of domestic animals, so that they are healthy and productive is the very basis of animal welfare – and at the same time education of the purchasers of products and the wider society results in a better understanding of the value of farming.

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