MP Mel Stride sat down with farmers from across his huge rural constituency to discuss issues facing the industry.
Organised by the National Farmers Union (NFU), the meeting included meat, dairy and arable farmers from Silverton, Copplestone, Crediton, Bow, Beaworthy, Northlew, Bondleigh, Chagford and Whitestone and was held at Higher Fingle Farm between Drewsteignton and Cheriton Bishop.
Devon NFU county advisor Andrew Butler, said after the meeting: ‘It was very useful to talk through some of the concerns we have as an industry.
‘These include rising energy bills, DEFRA’s Environment Land Management scheme, huge price rises of products farmers rely on such as fertiliser, and access to seasonal labour.
‘We are pleased Mel undertook to discuss these issues with DEFRA ministers and farmers are looking to him to communicate the levels of concerns in our food producing capacity to those in Westminster.’
Mr Stride added: ‘Farming in Devon and across the UK is going through a period of significant change as we shift to a new model that rewards farmers for the role they play in food production but also for how they protect our environment.
‘But change is not easy and especially challenging in this very difficult economic conditions and there are several key issues which I will be taking up with ministers as a result of this really useful meeting.’
In 2012 and 2013 Mr Stride led legislation that introduced fines of up to £100 million for large retailers who deal unfairly with farmers through the creation of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.
This has since helped to rebalance the power dynamic between purchasers, such as our supermarkets, and producers. On 1st March this year Amazon became the latest retailer to be bound by the GCA.