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National Farmers’ Union to address leaders at Suffolk Show in Ipswich next week and calls on Government to value its role

A union is calling for better support for farmers ahead of this year’s Suffolk Show over fears some farms may not survive.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) will address county leaders at this year’s event, on May 29 and 30, in Trinity Park, Ipswich, to ensure the profession is ‘properly valued’.

Farmers are calling for Government commitments on county food production, which plays a key role in supporting the roughly 8,134 people who work in the sector.

Glenn Buckingham has called on the Government to recognise the vital role of farmers in the local economy. Picture: NFU
Glenn Buckingham has called on the Government to recognise the vital role of farmers in the local economy. Picture: NFU

According to the NFU, the past 18 months have been the wettest since 1836 and it has warned of the impact this could have on farms.

Glenn Buckingham, chairman of NFU Suffolk, said the county relied heavily on the sector as it is responsible for thousands of jobs and supports businesses in the area.

He invited every district and county councillor to its stand at the Suffolk Show to chat about farming and food.

He said: “[Farmers] work hard to deliver high quality, sustainable and ethically produced food, always working to the highest standards of animal welfare while protecting the countryside and supporting the environment.

“The NFU has always pushed for more commitment from the government to secure a more resilient and sustainable future for our farming families and, with a General Election on the horizon, it has never been more important to have our members’ voices heard.

“I look forward to engaging with politicians to ensure a more positive future for the Suffolk farming community.”

Mr Buckingham said it had been a challenging time for farmers, with wet weather having severe financial impacts.

A survey conducted by the NFU highlighted concerns after ‘relentless wet weather’.

About 50 per cent of respondents noted fairly negative impacts while 32 per cent said they suffered very negative effects.

“While there has been some support on offer from the Government, we still need to see action in other areas including on British food security,” Mr Buckingham said.

Figures from the NFU estimated Suffolk farmers generated about £1.4 billion to the economy of East Anglia.

In the lead-up to the General Election, which is set for July 4, the NFU has published a manifesto with policies it hopes political parties will adopt.

These include rewarding farmers for their role in mitigating flood risks, a smooth and seamless transition to new environmental schemes open to all farmers and growers to ensure long term food production and the establishment of standards to promote a fair and functioning supply chain.

It also hoped to develop standards which will apply to agri-food imports.

Mr Buckingham added: “I’m thankful for how the general public have continued to show their support and appreciation for what we do and now we need to see our politicians from all parties value and back the production of home-grown food and our family businesses.”