Prime Minister Gordon Brown has used his Labour Party conference speech in Bournemouth to praise the efforts of British farmers facing the current crises in the industry.

In emotive language the PM described the situation facing British farming and the response of farmers in tackling foot and mouth disease.

“And then on an early August morning in Surrey a farmer went out to tend his livestock,” Mr Brown began.

“What he saw terrified him, made him remember back to 2001, when all across the countryside clouds of smoke scarred the sky and far away in farms and villages family dreams were turned to ash.

“During the outbreak this summer our vets, scientists and public officials in DEFRA cancelled their holidays.

“To fight the contagion farmers worked day and night. And they have done it all over again this month and continue to do so.

“Their actions live out our shared understanding that our countryside is more than the space that surrounds – it is the oxygen for the towns and cities.

“And in order to be the country we should be, Britain must protect and cherish, not just our cities, but our countryside too,” Mr Brown said.