Thursday, 16 April 2015

Farming and Fishing

I grew up at Trevaskis Farm near Connor Downs, studied at agricultural college and worked in the family business for over nine years.  Over the last eighteen months I have been the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food.  I think it makes sense in politics to bring to the table knowledge you gained in an earlier career and for me that was farming.  

I want to see a vibrant farming industry and my priorities if returned would be to shake up the Common Agricultural Policy and make it easier for new entrants to get into the industry. I also think we should have a much looser CAP with common European objectives, but where national governments legislate to deliver these objectives in their own way.  

All new industries need new talent and farming is no exception. The high cost of land is a real barrier to new entrants so I want to do more to encourage alternative routes in, such as contract farming agreements where a young farmer might manage the crops or livestock on behalf of the landowner for a fee that is linked to outcomes.

Better progress has been made improving the Common Fisheries Policy and we have now banned the shameful practice of discarding perfectly good fish back into the sea which takes effect next January.