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Suffolk FWAG/SAA conference at Trinity Park, Ipswich, set to probe future of conservation on farms post-Brexit

PUBLISHED: 10:12 27 October 2017

NFU deputy president Minette Batters. Picture: GREGG BROWN

NFU deputy president Minette Batters. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The effects of Brexit on farming and the environment will be under the spotlight next month at a Suffolk event aimed at lifting the lid on the challenges conservation-minded farmers will face.

Baroness Hazel Byford, president elect of the SAA. Picture: NIGEL BROWN Baroness Hazel Byford, president elect of the SAA. Picture: NIGEL BROWN

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Minette Batters will be among the speakers at the joint Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) and Suffolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) conference on Wednesday, November 15, which takes place at Trinity Park, Ipswich, from 1.15pm to 5pm.

“The theme is what a post-Brexit farming policy can achieve for farming and the environment. We hope to have a Suffolk policy in place as a result of these discussions,” said organiser David Barker.

“I just believe that the ball is in (environment secretary) Michael Gove’s court to produce a post-Brexit agricultural policy that delivers for the environment and for food production - it’s not rocket science.”

Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has not delivered huge amounts for the environment, he said, but there were now opportunities to shape things differently. “All things are possible but farmers will need the right signals - DEFRA has to provide the opportunities for farmers to engage and deliver.”

David Barker David Barker

Glenn Buckingham, farm manager at Helmingham Estate Farms and ex-chair of Suffolk FWAG, will be chairing the event, which also features reflections on past and potential future policies from Baroness Hazel Byford, president-elect of the SAA who served as Opposition Parliamentary Spokesman for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs from 1997 to 2007 and is currently on a select committee reviewing the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. Her family has a farm at Acton, Sudbury.

Peter Thompson, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) biodiversity adviser, will look at the impact of Brexit on farming and the environment.

There will also be case study presentations by farmers AJ Paul of the Broxtead Estate at Sutton and Patrick Barker of Lodge Farm, Westhorpe.

The Chadacre and Felix Cobbold trusts are funding free tickets to the conference for young farmers. Places cost £20 for SAA members and £25 for non- members. For more details, email margie.morris@suffolkshow.co.uk.

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