26 November 2001
Crops conference appeal to Beckett

By Tom Allen-Stevens

A PETITION to highlight the plight of the arable sector is due to be launched at the Crops Conference near Cambridge on Tuesday (27 November).

The aim is to urge the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to include farm profitability in its aims and objectives.

“We are not asking for cash handouts,” wrote Crops editor Debbie Beaton in a letter to Defra minister Margaret Beckett that will accompany the petition.

“Instead, we ask that Defra makes no further decisions at a UK or European level that will damage UK arable farm profits.”

Chairman of the conference and president of the National Farmers Union, Ben Gill, is expected to give the petition his support.

A record number of delegates is expected to turn up to the conference, which is supported by chemical manufacturer Bayer.

Other speakers include US agricultural journalist Alan Guebert, policy analyst Robert Gooch and Richard Harding from the Food Standards Agency.

British Biogens Peter Billins will explain how farmers can help solve the energy crisis.

Chairman of the British Association of Biofuel and Oil Peter Clery will also reveal how farmers may become the next oil barons.

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