Rural affairs in the spotlight

29 Feb 2024 10:02
Published by: Scott Callan

MACCLESFIELD farmers and representatives from the National Farmers Union (NFU) met with the government’s environment Secretary Steve Barclay to discuss key priorities for the rural community.

The meeting with the cabinet minister, who also holds the food and rural affairs portfolios, was organised by Macclesfield MP David Rutley.

It took place at Goosetree farm and was hosted by the Rowlinson family. More than 20 farmers from the area were involved in the discussions.

They provided feedback to the Secretary of State on the Sustainable Farming Incentive and its impact on their work.

The scheme pays farmers for supporting food production, productivity and resilience alongside environment enhancement.

They heard that there will be an additional 10 per cent uplift on the scheme, as well as broadening the scope of the fund to better reflect the full spectrum of farming interests, such as supporting environmental protection.

Mr Barclay also listened to farmers concerns about tenancies and their views on environmental land management.

NFU County Adviser Helen Wainwright said: “It was fantastic to have Mr Barclay out on farm so he can recognise the issues farmers are facing in Cheshire, see the real risk to food production and to understand the public goods farmers deliver.

“The meeting gave our members the opportunity to cover further pressing issues in the sector.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Rutley said: “I am very pleased Macclesfield farmers had the chance to sit down with the Secretary of State and to discuss matters of real importance to the rural community.

“It was positive to hear how the government is listening to farmers and making changes to the Sustainable Farming Incentive to make it more relevant to their work.”

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