Comment: Public engagement is top of the agenda

Pic: Tony Johnson
Pic: Tony Johnson
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STUCK FOR Christmas present ideas this year? Well, fear not, because an American food company has launched what it believes to be the first range of bacon scented underwear.

I’m not fibbing. Maybe one for the butcher or pig farmer in your life? Or maybe not. Then again, pants are a practical gift, and isn’t that what country folk need? Ask Shaun McKenna, he bought a whisk for his wife Wendy for Christmas last year.

‘Tis approaching the season of giving but don’t let that spoil a good Autumn Statement. The Chancellor announced cuts to Defra’s budget this week and while he insisted much of the savings would be found from trimming back office functions which will see the department share resources more closely with partner agencies, it is not completely clear how all this will have an impact out on the farm.

More details have to follow.

Madge Moore, the newly appointed chairman of the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network, has her own concerns about the affects of the latest cuts.

And, writing in Country Week before the Chancellor’s announcement this week on the matter, she highlights how these savings come at a time of continuing challenge for the agriculture industry.

In Harrogate next month there is an opportunity for people in the industry to address Defra directly, at a consultation about its new food and farming plan - any opportunity for Yorkshire farmers to influence this agenda must be seized.

Ms Moore is keen for engagement from the community in this issue, and The Yorkshire Post has seen a swell of engagement itself over the last week, with readers showing that they want to back British dairy farmers by signing our Clearly British campaign petition.

More than 100 members of the public have signed the document to date as we continue to put pressure on retailers, food processors and the wider food industry for clear dairy labels.

If we want to buy British butter, cheese or yoghurt, we should have all the information right there in front of us at a glance - just like the rules state for meat products.

If you feel the same, then please add to our calls. Sign our petition here and share it with your friends.