NFU says Lib Dems must back farmers

The Liberal Democrats must back farmers to help them carry on delivering for Britain, the president of the National Farmers' Union has said.

Peter Kendall, president of the NFU said that now the Lib Dems have a minister in Defra, they have a crucial role to play in backing the farming sector.

Speaking this week in Brighton at a joint NFU and Food and Drink Federation (FDF) fringe event at the Lib Dem party conference, Kendall welcomed David Heath into his new post as Minister for Agriculture and Food. Kendall also outlined the importance and impact Heath will have on the farming industry.

Kendall said: “As a party that champions liberty, much of what the farming industry needs from the Liberal Democrats in government is about letting farming get on and do its job of producing more food, more sustainably and delivering growth. But where politics and regulation have a role to play, the party has to nurture rather than hinder domestic production.”

“Part of the equation here is about the positive steps government can take: keeping a commitment to investment in research and development; establishing a planning system that allows farmers to invest in their businesses; using the tax system to incentivise capital investment that will boost the economy, help make farmers more resilient to climate change and put the industry as a whole on a more sustainable footing. But it is also about backing the tough decisions that matter, most importantly the proposed cull of badgers to control TB.”

Kendall also stressed how important it was to treat farmers fairly, particularly at a time when the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was reaching a crucial period. “Fairness is one of the hallmarks of the liberal tradition. We know that Europe is facing up to some massive challenges in terms of its future budget and the reform of the CAP. What is absolutely vital is that British farmers are treated fairly in comparison to the rest of our counterparts in the EU. We look to David Heath and the rest of the Liberal Democrat agriculture team to hold true to this key principle,” he added.