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September 28, 2007 3:00 PM

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming and DEFRA Select Committee member has welcomed the announcement that auction marts will reopen next week - allowing farmers outside the high risk zone in the South East to get back to business. Mr Farron had been working alongside NFU officials over the last week to persuade ministers to agree to this easing of restrictions.

"This is a sensible step forward and will allow farmers to move their animals to market which will be a relief to everyone in the industry. It is good news for farm incomes, for animal welfare and for the countryside in general."

Tim has now urged the government to launch a welfare scheme to help farmers to secure a fair price for their livestock. Animal prices have fallen by up to half in the last two weeks and so Tim is asking Government to support farmers by working to ensure decent minimum prices to allow farms to recover financially.

"We're not out of the woods - the farming industry is in serious danger with many farmers at severe risk of going out of business. The Government owes it to our farmers to provide the support to keep them going."