Essex farmers will highlight the vital contribution agriculture makes to the county when they meet their local MPs at Westminster.

NATIONAL Farmers’ Union chairman James Hawkes is set to lead a group of about 20 NFU members to London in May to discuss key issues with the MPs.

Topics under discussion will include securing water for food production during drought, inland and coastal flood defence, reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and the need for a grocery code adjudicator.

Mr Hawkes said: “Farming is an important industry within Essex, employing 10,000 people and supporting many more jobs across the county. We want to work with our MPs to make sure it has a positive future.

“The May meeting will be a useful opportunity to meet the MPs, to discuss a wide range of issues and to highlight the positive contribution farming can make in future with the right policies in place.”

The House of Commons reception has been arranged with the support of Witham MP Priti Patel. During the day, the group will also visit the NFU’s London office to find out more about its work in Westminster.