23 April 1998
NFU refuses to back farmers march

By FWi staff

HUNDREDS of farmers are expected to march through Chester city centre tomorrow (Friday) to draw attention to the crisis in agriculture. But the NFU has refused to give official backing to the protest for fear that the presence of other pressure groups could obscure the farmers message.

The protesters will lobby Government ministers and EU officials attending an environment conference. And they want to tell Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott that the countryside is at risk because farmers can ill afford to pay for its upkeep.

“More and more farms are being forced out of business and that affects other local businesses who deal with farms,” one of the march organisers told FWi. “Things would not be so bad if the Government was on our side but it isnt.”

Stuart Yarwood, local NFU chairman, said the NFU would be maintaining a low profile during the day, although some of its members would be attending on an individual basis.

Mr Yarwood said he had requested a meeting with Environment Minister Michael Meacher to argue the farmers case face-to-face.