Farming minister to speak at conference

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The newly-appointed Farming Minister, MP George Eustice, will speak at the Northern Farming Conference next week.

Mr Eustice, a former member of the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee, assumes responsibility for Defra’s farming brief, while Owen Paterson will retain ultimate responsibility for all Defra policies as Secretary of State.

At the conference, at Hexham Auction Mart on Wednesday, he will discuss the CAP update, reducing risk in UK farming businesses, support to new entrants and on-going education in farming, Defra support for farming/reducing red tape and the future of agri-environment schemes.

Mr Eustice said: “The North of England is home to some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes, as well as some of the most challenging conditions for British farmers.

“I want to do all I can to help you overcome these challenges and take all the opportunities that come with Britain’s global reputation for quality food.

“We are already cutting unnecessary paperwork, investing in farming technologies for the future and helping to inspire the next generation of talent to join the industry.”

Alastair Cochrane, land management partner at Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office said: “This is quite a coup for the NFC and will give northern farmers the opportunity to make their voice heard by the minister and thereby hopefully influence the shape of government policy and, potentially, CAP reform.”

Other speakers include leading economist Allan Buckwell; Northumberland farmer and Monitor Farm Project lead, Simon Bainbridge; Yorkshire carrot farmer and 2012 Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year Guy Poskitt, 2011 Arable Farmer of the Year Colin McGregor and Borders beef farmer Donald MacPherson.

The conference is a joint venture between the CLA, Strutt & Parker, Bond Dickinson, Armstrong Watson, Catchment Sensitive Farming, Hexham & Northern Marts and Gibson & Co Solicitors, supported by the Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (AMC). Tickets cost £40 per person or £20 for farmers with a CPH number.