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NFU AGM REPORT - Government Calls for Partnership

by 5m Editor
17 February 2009, at 1:53pm

UK - Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, called for a partnership between the agriculture industry and government as a means of producing an environmentally friendly sustainable food industry, writes ThePoultrySite senior Editor Chris Harris.

Speaking at the National Farmers' Union annual meeting in Birmingham yesterday, Mr Benn praised the farming industry for its resilience in the face of the present economic problems.

He added that the value of beef export had nearly tripled and in the face of a shrinking economy, agriculture had expanded and the outlook for livestock farms is better this year than last.

"This doesn't mean the global recession isn't going to wash onto farming," he said.

"People know you are important and you are vital in feeding the world's population," Mr Benn told the farmers.

"We all want a strong, productive, competitive and sustainable industry.

"Sometimes we may have different views about the means of achieving it, but that's when partnership is even more important.

"We're most effective when we work together."

Mr Benn added that the government will be investing in improving skills within the farming industry in the UK.

"As we look to the future, we need to get the farmers of tomorrow interested and involved with the industry and help today's farmers, who want new skills, to deal with new technologies like anaerobic digestion and meet new challenges like climate change," he said.

"I will be convening an industry round table, bringing in colleagues from across the farming industry, agricultural colleges and elsewhere to overcome these problems and to inject some real urgency into our efforts to make sure that people in the have what they need to do their jobs even better in future."

He added, "In meeting demand today, we must ensure that we don't harm our ability to feed ourselves tomorrow."