Following a successful visit to the National Farmers Union South of England Show Hastings prospective parliamentary candidate for the the Labour Party has been invited to visit several farms around Hastings & Rye.
Peter Chowney says: “I will be able to see their problems and issues, and talk to farmers and farm workers directly.”
Mr Chowney was invited by the NFU to the South of England Show to take part in a ‘question time’ panel discussing agricultural policy. He was asked because Hastings and Rye – the constituency he hopes to represent in parliament – is a largely rural constituency with 84 farms, almost all of them small and family-run.
He says: “I admit I’m not an expert on agriculture, and was a bit worried that the questions would all be about Brexit, badgers and fox hunting. But it was nothing like that.”
Concerns raised by the audience were mainly about food quality and animal welfare standards being eroded post-Brexit; the risk of unfair competition from foreign food imports, especially from the USA; sustainable energy generation and solar arrays on farms; food security and producing enough food in the UK so we don’t have to rely on imports; farming subsidies post-Brexit; the bullying tactics used by supermarkets to push down the price they pay for milk, especially; and the need to present a more positive image of immigration, related to the way migrant labour helps UK farms.
Mr Chowney says: “Fortunately, I did know a bit about Labour agricultural policy, and was able to respond positively to most of these concerns, which went down well. As the NFU representative had previously said to me, Labour Party policy seems to be more closely aligned to NFU policy, and to the concerns of farmers, than Conservative policy.
“As a result of all this, I was invited to visit several farms in Hastings and Rye so I can see their problems and issues, and talk to farmers and farm workers directly. I’ll be looking forward to that.”