The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Victoria Prentis MP, has visited West Farm in Staindrop, alongside MP Dehenna Davison and members of UTASS.
Bishop Auckland MP, Dehenna Davison recently welcomed Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, to West Farm in Staindrop to discuss rural farming and how the industry has been challenged over the last year.
The socially distanced meeting at West Farm, hosting representatives from UTASS and the local farming community, gave both the MP and farmers the opportunity to raise questions about upland and tenanted farms to the Minister. The visit also featured a tour of the farm, where the MP and Minister took time to visit some of the newly born lambs.
Speaking after the meeting Dehenna Davison MP said:
“It was great to welcome the Farming Minister, Victoria Prentis, to West Farm in Staindrop. The last year has been particularly tough, especially for those in the agriculture sector. The immediate closure of restaurants and other food facilities meant that many farmers lost a huge part of their sales.
“I am grateful to the Minister for taking the time to come up and visit as well as speak to some of our local farmers. I know that everyone found the visit very useful and we are looking forward to welcoming her back again soon.”
Since leaving the European Union the Government have been very clear on their commitment that any future trade agreements must uphold the UK’s high levels of food safety, animal welfare standards, and environmental protection. The EU Withdrawal Act transferred all existing EU food safety provisions onto the UK statute book, and Ministers have made clear these standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal now that the UK has left the EU.
UTASS representative Bob Danby said:
“Dehenna has always shown a keen interest in the problems facing dales farmers. Our first meeting was in the run up to her election and since then we have had regular meetings to discuss current problems and concerns.
“I must thank her for arranging a meeting with Victoria. It was very encouraging to find Victoria has a firm grasp on the issues around the changes in agricultural policies and was very much in empathy with the concerns of our farmers. We had a very productive discussion around the upcoming changes and their effects, and we were able to highlight some issues relevant to upland and tenanted farms which Victoria is going to take back to the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs."