A crucial General Election for Sussex farmers - say industry leaders

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Industry leaders have highlighted how the July 4 General Election will be crucial for farmers in Sussex and the East of England.

NFU Regional Policy Manager for the East of England Charles Hesketh said: “Farming is a vital industry in this region and the NFU will keep pushing for that to be recognised by all political parties ahead of what will be a crucial General Election.

“Farming makes a major contribution to local economies in the East of England, while farmers here help to protect the great British countryside, support the environment and deliver food security.

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“Farmers here, and across the country, have been facing some huge challenges. Not least the continued impact of one of the wettest winter and springs on record but also the threat of bluetongue virus for the livestock sector. Loss of farm subsidies and issue of fairness within the supply chain.

NFU Regional Policy Manager for the East of England Charles Hesketh.NFU Regional Policy Manager for the East of England Charles Hesketh.
NFU Regional Policy Manager for the East of England Charles Hesketh.

“The NFU has published a manifesto of our key asks of the next government. This outlines the major issues facing farmers and the solutions we believe will help safeguard the industry and enable it to flourish in the future.

“A thriving British farming industry is hugely beneficial to society as a whole, so it is important to people everywhere that the next government work with us to find solutions to the many challenges the industry is facing.

“The rural vote will be key at this General Election, and it has been emphatically demonstrated that there is huge public support for British farmers – so candidates from all parties need to take notice of this.”

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NFU President Tom Bradshaw said: “This general election may well be the most important in a generation for British food and farming. The stakes are very high. If the next government gets it right then this huge sector can grow, contributing even more to the UK economy, to the health and welfare of Britons and to the environment. But farming and growing is under huge pressure.

“Confidence is the currency that forms the foundation of feeding the country and it is currently at rock bottom; after months of devastating flooding, high production costs and low market returns, and against a backdrop of reformed farm support as we transition to a new domestic agriculture policy. Farmers and growers need the policies in place that will rebuild confidence and deliver a thriving, profitable farming sector delivering for food security as a key part of our national security.

“The NFU will be engaging with candidates from all political parties over the coming weeks to promote our election manifesto and ensure every prospective MP understands the importance of boosting home-grown food production as well as the work farmers and growers carry out 365 days a year caring for the environment, providing a home for nature and providing solutions to the challenges of climate change."