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East of England: Candidates in European election urged to back British farming

14:48 10 April 2014

Guy Smith, Stuart Agnew and Meurig Raymond

Guy Smith, Stuart Agnew and Meurig Raymond

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European election candidates in the East of England are being urged to back British farming ahead of next month’s vote.

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Guy Smith, Geoffrey Van Orden and Meurig RaymondGuy Smith, Geoffrey Van Orden and Meurig Raymond

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has joined forces with the UK’s other three farming unions to launch a manifesto that calls on MEPs to help maximise the potential of the industry and create a policy environment in which farmers and growers can thrive.

And on Thursday, May 15, farmers will quiz candidates from the main political parties at a European elections hustings event taking place at the NFU regional office in Newmarket.

The manifesto, Backing the Business of British Farming, highlights how important farming and food production is to the UK and European economies.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “We are calling on candidates for the European Parliament elections to support sustainable and competitive food production. To achieve this, investment in the sector must be stepped up significantly, research and innovation encouraged and policy formulated based on sound science.

Robert Sturdy and Meurig RaymondRobert Sturdy and Meurig Raymond

“Safeguarding the environment must go hand in hand with agricultural production and the food chain also needs to work better to enable farmers to get a better return from the market. We also believe that fair and balanced free trade agreements with global partners are crucial.”

NFU regional director Pamela Forbes said: “MEPs are increasingly taking decisions that affect our members’ businesses, both in terms of policy creation and high-impact regulation. It’s therefore vital that we have a team of MEPs who understand our businesses and how we might be affected by decisions they make.

“We look forward to working closely with MEPs during the next parliamentary term and beyond and our hustings on 15 May is an important part of that process.”

The meeting will be chaired by Hertfordshire NFU delegate Will Dickinson and the panel will comprise: Vicky Ford (Conservative), Jessica Goldfinch (Green Party), Sandy Martin (Labour), Andrew Duff (Liberal Democrat) and Stuart Agnew (UK Independence Party)

It starts at 7pm and farmers wanting to attend should call 01638 672100 to confirm their place.

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