Defra to tour farmers markets

Defra has announced it will be sending officials to livestock markets to give farmers the opportunity to ask questions on legislation and disease.

Department staff will attend more than 80 markets over the next three months, starting at the Exeter Market Auctioneers on 13 March (Friday) and finishing in Hampshire at the Exmoor Farmers Livestock Auctions on 11 May.

Farming minister Jane Kennedy said: "I really hope farmers take this opportunity to talk to Defra officials about their concerns or raise issues - we're there to listen as well as provide information, and I'm looking forward to attending one of the roadshows myself.

"I know for a fact that farmers feel very strongly about the direction their industry should be heading, and this is an excellent opportunity for them to speak face to face with government."

Farmers are encouraged to ask questions on any issue, including bluetongue, the nitrates directive, electronic identification of sheep and responsibility and cost-sharing. Defra said the officials will be easily identifiable, wearing branded clothing.