Members of the National Farmers Union’s Pocklington branch recently met East Yorkshire MP Sir Greg Knight and Yorkshire and Humber MEP Timothy Kirkhope at Richard Stephenson’s farm near Londesborough to discuss both local and national issues affecting farmers.
Local dairy farmers Rachel and Paul Tompkins stressed the urgency needed to ensure dairy farmers get a fair deal from processors and supermarkets, before any more farmers went out of business. Food security is a major issue and it is vital that the UK can continue to produce food in such a volatile world.
The recent Avian flu outbreak had left many local farmers out of pocket, due to DEFRA having destroyed eggs as a precaution to stop the potential spread of the disease from a site near Driffield, meaning the supply of ducks to growers had been interrupted and they will suffer a loss of income. Sir Greg offered to look into this situation.
Andrew Sewell brought up the subject of local watercourses and the need for the Environment Agency to continue with ongoing maintenance and that vegetation surrounding dykes needs to be flailed back on an annual basis. Sir Greg was to look into this matter further if work had not been completed by the end of March. Several other members were also having issues with flooding and watercourses.
Richard Stephenson expressed his concern at the proposed ban on certain crop protection chemicals which would have a serious effect on cereals farmers and he made the point that UK should not import food from other countries which still used those chemicals or British Farmers would again be discriminated against in a similar situation to GM crops. Sir Greg and Timothy Kirkhope took his comments on board and awaited the results of a recent consultation on the matter.
Everyone involved agreed the meeting had been very useful and hoped the dialogue would continue.