The Royal Agricultural Society of England has launched an initiative to get MPs more involved in rural issues.

The focus for the initiative is this year’s Royal Show, taking place at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire from 1-4 July.

RASE, which organises the show, has invited MPs and peers to attend. And it is urging all visitors to encourage their local MP to take up the offer.

On the Tuesday, 3 July, a special programme will be arranged for all MPs and peers attending, including conducted tours and a reception in the afternoon.

The emphasis is to help those attending get a better understanding within Whitehall of rural issues and the challenges facing farming, food and the rural economy both today and in the future.

To ensure they are kept abreast of all the issues facing farmers, Farmers Weekly is backing the initiative by offering a year’s free subscription to all MPs who attend.

“There’s real public interest in food, farming and the countryside,” said the society’s chief executive John Moverley.

“The pressures of food production, protecting our environment and sustainable energy production are key issues and how we manage our countryside will be pivotal in addressing them.”

The society has been very pro-active in this area and it was the subject of a visit to the 2005 Royal Show by EU farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.

“Last year the show hosted a session by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, welcomed leader of the opposition David Cameron, and DEFRA secretary David Miliband chose the Royal Show to launch his vision for farming’s future.

“So this year, in addition to ministerial visits from both government and opposition, it’s the turn of local politics. We want to help MPs get right to the heart of the issues that matter in food and farming, such as renewable energy, non-food crops, local food procurement, waste management and rural enterprise.

 

“By inviting them to the show, we seek to help give MPs a better understanding of what matters to their rural constituents, which will help them in their role in Parliament.”

 

A guided tour will take in the show’s livestock lines, boasting farming’s finest cattle, sheep and pigs, and features such as Profitable Futures, a new area looking to help farmers turn industry challenges, such as climate change, into profitable enterprises.

 

A briefing and Q&A session will give MPs the chance to discuss rural issues face-to-face with industry leaders and ensure they leave the show with an invaluable understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing farming, food and the rural economy.

 

Formal invitations have been issued to every MP and peer via the Industry and Parliament Trust. You can encourage your MP to attend the show by e-mail – go to the UK Parliament site to get the details of your local MP, and then e-mail them direct.

 

Alternatively you can write to them at House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA or call the House of Commons Information Office on 020 7219 4272. 

 

 FWi exclusive – is there an issue you want raised at this year’s show? Why not raise it on the FWi forum? Then be sure to inform your local MP of the issues that really matter in your area and urge them to attend the Royal Show on the 1-4 July to find out more. The Royal Show team will be monitoring the FWi forum and will ensure your burning issues get the profile they deserve at the show itself.