The Farming Minister, Mark Spencer MP, visited Grantham on Thursday (1st February) to meet with local Lincolnshire farmers, as well as representatives from the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire Police, the NFU, and Council leaders.
The summit, which took place at Grantham’s Angel & Royal Hotel, was hosted by local MPs Gareth Davies (Grantham and Stamford) and Caroline Johnson (Sleaford and North Hykeham), with a number of farmers in attendance from each constituency.
The discussion covered several topics, including the recovery from recent flooding following Storm Henk, how farmers are harnessing new technology to enhance their produce, and how progress is being made to tackle rural crime.
As well as hearing the views of local farmers first-hand, the Farming Minister was able to respond to questions and outline the Government’s positions across a variety of issues, such as the structure of payment schemes and the transition to a new approach which rewards farmers for providing public goods.
The Environment Agency provided an update on their flood response efforts, and their plans for future work which should assist local farmers and other residents in mitigating future flooding. Farmers were able to offer their own suggestions on how this might be achieved, and provide feedback on their own recent experiences.
Lincolnshire Police also provided insight into the work of their dedicated Rural Crime Action Team, which the NFU confirmed had led to a marked reduction in incidents and complaints arising from criminal activities such as hare coursing. In this, the Police and Crime Commissioner spoke to the benefit of new powers granted through national legislation and the importance of reporting by farmers and others in rural communities.
Mr Davies said: “I was delighted to be able to host this Summit in Grantham today and I am pleased that farmers from right across our corner of Lincolnshire were able to put their questions to the Farming Minister and key partners across the agricultural sector.
“Our farmers are at the very heart of our rural communities, and I will always back our farmers to succeed.”