South Somerset MP Marcus Fysh had an in depth chat with local farmers across the weekend. Along with the NFU, Marcus met with a group of farmers on Friday to discuss the big topics of farming in Brexit. They brought to his attention questions that need answering over the next few months as the Brexit process has officially begun.
Marcus said: “Our farming community is one of the most hard-working and valuable ones not only here in South Somerset, but across the country. For every £1 spent on agriculture in the UK, £7.40 is put into the UK economy. Before we begin our discussions with the EU on our new relationship, I want to hear properly from farmers about the issues that might affect them."
The future of subsidy payments like the Basic Payment Scheme was talked about in great detail, including how it can be administered similarly to the current structure or updated to be more appropriate for our local industry after we leave the EU. The issue of seasonal workers, important not only to the farming industry but others too, was also discussed, as well as the work Mr Fysh is already engaged in to make sure customs border arrangements are as efficient as they can be.
Marcus said, "As I have said from the outset, leaving the EU provides opportunities as well as challenges, and I am certain there is a great future for our farming industry with its products among the highest quality in the world, and desire on both sides of the EU negotiation for smooth and constructive new arrangements. As the sole South West MP on the International Trade Committee I am able to focus on these issues and put questions directly to Ministers and industry representatives. I will make sure the farming community's viewpoints are well heard before and during negotiations with the EU and other countries. I know the Prime Minister shares the view that agriculture and fisheries will play an important role in how we leave the EU as well as in our future."
Marcus also had the chance to speak with young farmers at the Cotley Point to Point.
He said "Young farmers must be consulted too during this process. They are the future of our farming industry and need the opportunity to be proud of and good at selling the food we produce, at home and abroad. We mustn't miss this chance to improve the industry after we leave the EU and its big Common Agricultural Policy acreage subsidies so that it is a more flexible, rewarding and respected prospect for young farmers to get into. We need to look at industry buying structures too so that reasonable farm product prices are more the norm."