THE DWINDLING number of farmers at NFU meetings is being blamed for a decision to merge two union branches in East Anglia.

The neighbouring Cambridgeshire East and West Suffolk branches are to amalgamate after a 12-month trial of informal meetings.

Alan Bullen, chairman of the new branch, said the move was taking place against a background of falling farmer numbers at meetings.

“Farms themselves are amalgamating everywhere and this is reflected in fewer farmers attending meetings,” said Mr Bullen. “Farmers are facing many challenges at the moment and it makes sense for us to join together. I am looking forward to more focus-driven meetings dealing with the changes affecting East Anglian agriculture,” he added.