FARMERS remain grateful that this county was one of the first to be visited by Michael Gove after he was appointed Environment Secretary last summer – those who met him at the Great Yorkshire Show talk fondly about a politician who was willing to listen to their observations.
Yet, while so much of Mr Gove’s time is now consumed by Brexit, it will be helpful if the Cabinet minister can clear some time in his diary to enable him to enjoy a longer period in the Yorkshire Dales and become immersed with the day-to-day challenges facing hill farmers.
Some of the country’s most hardworking people, more than one in five Dales farmers are failing to cover their production costs, hence the importance now being attached to the reform of farm subsidies that will take place when Britain no longer comes under the auspices of the Common Agricultural Policy.
Not only is the future financial viability of such farms crucial to food production, but farmers also play a crucial role in managing the natural environment and ensuring that Britain’s countryside remains the envy of the world.
However, with the Dales facing its greatest crisis since the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak because of changing demographics, and a dearth of opportunities for younger people, it needs a politician like Michael Gove mucking in – literally – for the Government to realise the rural economy’s wider value and importance.