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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Struggling Cumbrian farmers send plea for help to government

A plea by Cumbrian farmers on the brink after a nightmare year has reached the ears of Government officials.

About 30 farmers gathered in Longtown for a meeting called by union bosses.

Farmers from the Roadhead, Bewcastle, Hethersgill and Penton areas are battling wet weather, livestock losses and rising feed costs.

And producers and union bosses are predicting the situation will only worsen in the coming months.

An official from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), travelled to Longtown Community Centre to hear the farmers’ plea for help.

Local vets and representatives from industry organisation Eblex also attended the meeting to help farmers with concerns over both the dramatic rise in Liver Fluke and the extremely difficult trading conditions for lamb producers.

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart said after the meeting that a struggling farming sector would impact on the Cumbrian economy.

He said: “If the problems many of our local farmers are facing prove sufficiently severe as to put them out of business, the impact extends far beyond the farm and into the heart of our local communities.”

He added: Meetings like this one organised by the NFU are vital if farmers are to be kept as informed as possible on how best they can manage during such difficult periods.

“It is equally important that government is fully informed as well, however, if policy is to reflect the reality of farming on the ground.

“I am very pleased to see Defra sent an official to the meeting, and I hope the feedback will lead to a strategy that ensures the on-going viability of our small, Cumbrian farms.”

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