Date announced for mass rally for agriculture

The date has been confirmed for a mass rally for UK agriculture which is expected to bring busloads of farmers from across the country to central London.

The rally will take place on Wednesday, 25 March, at the QEII centre in Westminster, NFU president Minette Batters has confirmed.

The QEII centre can hold 1,200 people – and Ms Batters said she expected it to be full at what was an “unprecedented moment” for agriculture.

See also: Thousands of farmers to rally for UK agriculture

“We will be taking over the QEII centre at Westminster – we will have tractors outside, we will have branding outside,” she said.

The rally will highlight the importance of the sector – in terms of high-quality food production, the environment and mitigating climate change.

Positive message

“This is not a protest, this is not a blockade, this is not a march,” Ms Batters said.

“It is a mass rally to show ambition – that we want to be global leaders, we want to be the most sustainable farmers in the world.”

Farmers would be bussed in from across the country to attend the rally, Ms Batters told an NFU council meeting on Tuesday (28 January) at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

The government had a “massive opportunity” to set the agenda for agriculture ahead of the 2020 United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow this autumn, she added.

But government ministers also faced serious questions over their intentions for British growers and livestock producers.

Food standards

The fundamental question was whether the government would require food imports to meet the same production standards as British food.

“We want the [UK agriculture] brand to be built on integrity and standards,” Ms Batters said.

The NFU says it is vital that the efforts of British farmers are not undermined by food imports produced using methods that would be illegal in the UK.

Growers and livestock producers will lobby their MPs after the rally, which is being held on the same day as Prime Minister’s Questions.

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