2 January 2002
Beckett to address farm conference

By FWi staff

RURAL Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett is expected to outline her vision for the future of farming at the Oxford Farming Conference.

The two-day annual conference, which begins on Thursday (3 January), is called Building Our New Industry.

Mrs Beckett has been asked to outline the role she believes farming should take within the rural economy after the foot-and-mouth crisis.

After 90 days without a confirmed case of foot-and-mouth, there is a growing feeling that 2002 will be a turning point for the countryside.

The three-month gap, which passed on 29 December, is one condition the UK had to meet before it can be formally declared foot-and-mouth free.

It paves the way for export restrictions and other control measures to be lifted over the next few months.

Ministers, farm leaders and countryside groups are eager to tempt visitors back into the countryside in a bid to kick-start a recovery.

A campaign carrying the message that the countryside is open for business in 2002 is planned for early this year.

Cumbrian farmer Alistair Wannop, who will also address delegates, said his county would rise like a phoenix from the flames after the epidemic.

Meat and Livestock Commission chairman Peter Barr will reveal how consumer confidence can be rebuilt in the British meat industry.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage
Recovery plan – Full coverage