NFU marks the launch of Hill Farming All-Party Group

The National Farmers’ Union has helped to mark the relaunch of the Hill Farming All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The group made up of MPs from across the political spectrum will work towards building a productive, profitable and sustainable uplands farming sector post-Brexit.

Politicians at the event hosted by the NFU and MP Tim Farron earlier this week heard about the significant contributions of hill and uplands farming in producing food for the nation, maintaining and enhancing the environment and driving the rural community.

Speakers also included Farming Minister George Eustice.

NFU uplands forum chairman Thomas Binns said: “Upland farming is at the core of rural communities in Britain and plays a crucial role in producing high quality, safe and sustainable food for the nation.

Farming this land also delivers a multitude of benefits for our cherished countryside, from grazing livestock to maintaining public footpaths. Caring for the environment and our iconic landscape is at the centre of all we do.

“As we look ahead to a future outside of the EU, it has never been more important that new policy decisions recognise the vital contribution of the uplands to the nation and ensure these agricultural areas are valued for all the public goods they deliver, long into the future.”

An uncertain future

Tim Farron MP will chair the APPG. He said: “I’ve been delighted to work with the NFU to get our cross-party group back up and running.

“With the Government planning to remove direct payments, which are a lifeline to so many hill farmers, and with the threat of leaving the European Union with no-deal still on the table, the future for hill farming has never been more uncertain.

It’s vital that there is a group in Parliament to speak up for the interests of hard-working British hill farmers who are so crucial both to the national economy and to the environment.

Farming Minister George Eustice added: “As we leave the EU we have the opportunity to transform farming policy – to reward those who work to ensure the countryside is left in a healthier state for future generations.

“Hill farmers already make a significant contribution to the environmental and cultural value of our rural landscapes, and there is the potential to deliver further public goods with our landmark Agriculture Bill. This means they should be well placed to benefit from our new Environmental Land Management system.

“I look forward to working with this new All-Party Parliamentary Group to champion these farming communities.”