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'Farming figures are welcome news'

May 25, 2012 3:54 PM

Local MP Tim Farron with NFU President Peter Kendall. Peter recently called Tim a true ally of farming. (National Farmers Union)Cumbrian MP Tim Farron has today backed the National Farmers Union (NFU) campaign called Farming Delivers and welcomed news that the agriculture sector has grown in the last 12 months.

Government figures show the agriculture and horticulture sector of the economy grew by 25% last year. In addition, farmers say they are selling more produce overseas and farming now represents theUK's fourth largest exporting sector.

The Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution that farmers and growers made to the economy grew by £1.75bn, taking the total to some £8bn. GVA represents the difference between overall output and costs.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "We don't just produce food we also do it with less impact on the environment than was the case in the past; most indicators demonstrate that. We also produce a large and growing variety of different sources of cleaner renewable energy and we deliver some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. We also provide jobs and exciting careers. Employment in farming actually went up by 10,000 last year.

"As everyone here will know all too well, and our research confirms, the current economic climate is making people very nervous about the future. The country's future and their own."

Peter Kendall has said of Tim: "Many of my members, especially in Tim's back yard in the North West, recognise him as a positive force for farming, keeping our issues high up the political agenda and never losing sight of the vital contribution food and farming make to our economy."

Tim recently spoke in a debate in the House of Commons on the Queen's Speech and the Cost of Living, to support the Government plans for a Grocery Codes Adjudicator Bill. Tim called for 'fair trade for British farmers' as they fight exploitation by powerful retailers. But Tim thinks even more can and must be done to protect the agricultural sector.

Tim said: "I am delighted to support the NFU in this campaign and today's announcement about farming and agriculture bucking the trend is fantastic news but behind those figures are still many farmers in Cumbria and who are hard to keep going and to keep farming. I will continue to do all I can to make sure Cumbrian farmers get heard in Westminster and I will do all I can to support the sector."