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North West farmers hear Political Pledges and promises aplenty at NFU Conference
A delegation of 60 farmers from the North West region spent two days at the NFU Conference 2010 debating the political, business and environmental issues that will determine farming’s future.
With a general election expected in weeks, and campaigning in full swing, the NFU conference was a key platform for the three main parties to put their case for the farming vote. Farmers who attended the conference, which took place at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 February, heard speeches from Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Nick Herbert MP (Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Tim Farron MP (Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Defra).
All three speakers talked about the context set out by NFU President, Peter Kendall, of feeding an ever increasing world population in the face of climate change and resource challenges.
Coinciding with the general election was the NFU’s own Presidential officeholder election, which took place immediately after the NFU’s Conference.
NFU President Peter Kendall was re-elected for a third term after securing more than 75 per cent of the vote from NFU Council members. Voting also saw Meurig Raymond re-elected as Deputy President to serve his third term and dairy board chairman Gwyn Jones elected to fill the vacant Vice President post. The new office holder team will serve the NFU for two years.
Speaking about the NFU’s conference, Ian Pye, who is a member of the NFU’s Next Generation Dairy Board and works 250 acre Old Holly Farm in Garstang, Lancashire, said: “Hearing how dairy farmers, with the assistance of the NFU, have managed to recoup some of the money languishing in the middle ground of the dairy supply chain was encouraging to hear.”
Patrick Grange who farms at The Paddocks in Nantwich, Cheshire added: “I was impressed by the quality of speaker at this year’s conference. The NFU is capable of drawing in all of agriculture’s big names. There was a distinct air of positivity and optimism and about time too. British agriculture has a good story to tell and I now believe people are beginning to listen.”
Mike Taylor of Russell Farm, Burton in Kendal, Cumbria, said: “Meeting interesting and innovative farmers from other parts of the country is a great by-product of the NFU Conference. You have two days worth of the best farming knowledge, information and expertise that you can tap into.