Food and farming leaders from across Yorkshire have issued a united plea to the Government, urging Ministers to wholeheartedly back a “pioneering” collaboration between Whitehall and businesses in order to weather a period of intense economic uncertainty and improve the region’s rural prosperity.
The needs of the county’s farming sector have to become a priority at the highest level as decision-making powers over Britain’s food and farming policy are repatriated from Europe for the first time in more than 40 years, an influential group representing the region’s agricultural industry has insisted.
By working together with government, a group representing more than 30 businesses and rural organisations, believe their new initiative Grow Yorkshire - co-ordinated by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) - can be a powerful force for ensuring food and farming businesses get the support they desperately need to thrive in a post-Brexit world.
In a letter shared today exclusively with The Yorkshire Post, regional leaders and organisations working with farming and food businesses including the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and food group Deliciously Yorkshire, is asking newly installed Farming Minister, and Yorkshire MP, Robert Goodwill to pledge the Government’s commitment to begin working with them now to ensure the region’s agricultural businesses are fully prepared for the future.
David Kerfoot, chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding LEP, said: “Grow Yorkshire is taking a pioneering approach to help deliver a positive future for our farmers and rural communities.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Government for the benefit of the rural economy and the many thousands of people and businesses whose livelihoods depend on it.”
Nigel Pulling, chief executive of Yorkshire Agricultural Society, added: “At last there is recognition of the pressures that farmers and the agricultural sector is under and we welcome this new initiative to support the industry and make its needs a priority at the highest level.”
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Adam Bedford, regional director at the NFU, said farmers are trying to prepare for an uncertain future and they have the capacity to adapt, as he added his voice to the call for government backing.
Mr Bedford said: “We work with thousands of farmers across Yorkshire and the North East and we know how creative and innovative they can be.”
Rural leaders believe Grow Yorkshire can become a model for business support that is replicated nationally.
Dorothy Fairburn, director of CLA North, said: “Grow Yorkshire bangs a drum for Yorkshire’s agriculture, and will lead the way for other LEPs to follow.”