The Landworkers’ Alliance welcomes the announcement from newly-appointed Environment Secretary Michael Gove that he intends to ‘put farmers at the heart of policy making’. Despite the Secretary’s limited experience in the environment, food or rural affairs sectors he has made it clear that he is determined to engage farmers more directly with Defra’s policy making process.
We also welcome the Secretary’s announcement on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that he wants the opportunity to listen to the whole of the farming sector. Mr Gove said: ‘I’m hoping to talk to the National Farmers’ Union and others, because I think that the right approach to take as Secretary of State in a new department is to exercise appropriate humility and listen and learn.’
Bearing this in mind it is hoped that the Secretary will not mistake ‘consulting with the NFU’ as ‘consulting with the whole of the farming sector’. Ed Hamer, LWA spokesperson says: ‘As we enter the most significant period of change in UK agriculture for a generation it is essential that the Secretary of State recognises and engages with the breadth of agriculture practiced across the country.’
‘As an emerging farming union supported by a younger demographic the LWA represents a growing number of stakeholders in the Brexit consultations. While we share the NFU’s position on a handful of key policies our members also have contrasting views, particularly on direct payments, commodities and sustainable intensification. We would like to take the new Secretary of State at his word and welcome the opportunity to present our recently published manifesto to him directly.’
The LWA has recently launched a 20-page manifesto; Making Food Sovereignty a Reality: Recommendations for Post-Brexit Agricultural Policy; that outlines a clear vision for delivering high quality food to local, regional & national markets while supporting truly resilient farming.