Young farmers can play a key role in influencing future government policy, but must do more to get their views heard, delegates at this year’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs (ARAC) forum were told.
“There’s never been a better time to tell the industry and government what we think,” said ARAC chairman Rachael Chamberlayne, who echoed calls for people to take a more active role in lobbying local and national government.
The Year of Food and Farming, which begins this September, provided the ideal showcase for young people and the industry in general to get its key messages across to the general public, she added.
The problems, and potential opportunities for young people to influence rural housing, transport, access to services (e.g. Post Offices), renewable energy and local food were all discussed during the morning, which featured speakers such as the government’s rural advocate, Stuart Burgess.
“The energy and enthusiasm are what really excite me about young farmers,” said Dr Burgess. “Let’s be creative and go for real solutions to these problems. We have the opportunity to make a real difference and influence the government coming into the next election.”
But, while the Year of Food and Farming provided a good opportunity to showcase agriculture’s positive messages, many members were unclear about what it involved and how they could participate.
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