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'Let's protect our farmers and our high food standards', says Leadenham farmer




Leadenham farmer Andrew Ward has for some years been a passionate spokesman in the farming community. Andrew, of Glebe Farm, has recently spoken out about controversy surrounding the Agriculture Bill, which many fear will lead to food of a much poorer standard being imported. Andrew grows wheat, spring barley, sugar beet and oilseed rape on his 1,600-acre farm. He is the founder of Forage Aid which helps livestock farmers who have beenseverely hit by bad weather. He was awarded an MBE in 2014 for services to agriculture. We spoke to Andrew this week.

You have recently said you feel betrayed by our Conservative MPs on the recent Agriculture Bill after they voted against an amendment to protect food standards in this country. Why is that?

A lot of us wrote to our MPs before this amendment was discussed to highlight how important food standards are, and we really do want them protecting. They said they fully appreciated where we were coming from and agree that food standards need maintaining. And then when the vote took place, they voted against it – that’s another betrayal. It was very hard to take. And now our Government seems determined to do a trade deal with America at whatever cost. Our food standards sit right at the top of the world tree and America’s antibiotic usage in livestock has increased year on year, and continues to do so, whereas in the UK it started to decrease many years ago and still continues to do so. Other countries around the world have production systems that would be illegal for us to follow over here. Our regulations are so much higher and therefore our costs are higher. If food was to come on to our supermarket shelves from these foreign countries produced in a way that is illegal for us to do here, that surely isn’t fair and could force a lot of farmers out of business. That’s why we are calling on the UK Government to put into law rules that prevent food being imported to the UK which is produced in ways that would be illegal here (the petition can be found here).


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