Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Campaign reply - Support for the Dairy Industry

Farmers across the constituency have been in touch with a campaign email asking for support for farmers and in particular the dairy industry.

Farming is a vital part of our local communities and economy and have been so for generations. For these reasons alone it is imperative that the farming community is assisted through the current medical crisis.

The aim of government is that any business that was viable before the lockdown should receive sufficient help so that it can continue trading once we are through it. Whilst I am fully supportive of the measures that the government has already taken to help business and employees, I also recognise the near unique circumstances farmers are facing where animals still need to be fed and cared for regardless of market demand.

I made representations with ministers on various farming issues and was pleased to see the latest developments announced on Friday 17 April.

There is a link to the statement here:

Environment Secretary George Eustice has said:
Our dairy industry plays a crucial role in feeding the nation and it is essential that they are able to work together at this time.

We’ve heard loud and clear our dairy farmers’ concerns which is why we are further suspending competition rules law to allow dairy farmers to work together on some of the most pressing challenges they are facing. I am also urging farm businesses to access the loans that are available from their bank to support them in this period.

We welcome our farmers’ heroic efforts in ensuring food supplies remain resilient and will continue to support them through this difficult time.

Dairy UK and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will now lead work to bring the industry together to identify spare processing capacity, how to stimulate demand and how production could be temporarily reduced.
and will continue to urge them to ensure farmers are supported appropriately.

I am often in touch with the NFU and will look out for their briefings to further increase my understanding of the challenges faced by farmers.

Farms and the farming community deserve and need help just as we need you to continue to provide the nation with food and I welcome further communication from the farming community if you feel I can assist you in any way.