Benn tells Oxford: ‘A nonsense that needs to change’

DEFRA Secretary Hilary Benn addresses the Oxford Conference


Compulsory environmental management on farms, food labelling and local food all featured in DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn’s opening speech to the 2009 Oxford Farming Conference.


FWi brings you a selection of quotes from Mr Benn’s speech.



  • Climate change
    “We know that farming can’t be zero carbon, but it can be lower carbon.”
  • CAP health check
    “It was a missed opportunity to go further an example of how vested interests and the distortions which the CAP creates slow the pace of reform.”
  • Single payments
    “The RPA is doing better and as a result of the change in the value of sterling, those payments will be worth more this year to farmers.”
  • Pesticides regulation
    “It could hit yields by limiting the crops that can successfully be grown in the UK for no recognisable benefit to human health, which I take very seriously.”
  • Electronic Identification
    “It may have seemed like a good idea at the time it was originally adopted, but times have changed and the costs now outweigh the benefits.”
  • Anaerobic digestion
    “A technology that has so much to offer farming and the environment.”
  • Training and skills
    “The question the industry needs to ask itself is this: Is it being given the priority and urgency it deserves?”
  • Food labelling
    “A pork pie made in Britain from Danish pork can legitimately be labelled as a British pork pie. That’s a nonsense, and it needs to change.”
  • Local food
    “I want to see an increase in the amount of local, seasonal British food we buy.”
  • Pig production
    “Our pig farmers lead the world in terms of welfare and we need to support them. And the best way to do this is to buy their produce.”

Does it sound as though Mr Benn’s attitude towards British agriculture is changing? Have your say in the FWi forums