08 May 1998
Young farmers demand talks with Cunningham
By Ann Rogers
YOUNG farmers in England and Wales are demanding to meet farm minister Jack Cunningham.
An emergency motion, presented to the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs annual meeting in Torquay by members from Cornwall and Wales, called for the minister to meet YFC members to discuss their future survival in the present crisis. Delegates gave it overwhelming support.
Farm incomes, the hunting Bill, the fuel crisis and closure of rural schools were among the issues that concerned them.
“Our way of life is a very finely balanced social network where we all depend on each other, but how long can this last?” asked James Burton of the Cornwall federation. “The way of life may be lost for ever,” he said, explaining that effects “knock on like a line of dominoes through the entire network of rural life” and he feared that the countryside could become a characterless wasteland.
“We dont want cash handouts, we want meaningful discussion,” said Gary Yeomans of Wales Young Farmers Association, who pointed out that when Britain hosted the most recent meeting of the European Young Farmers organisation (CEJA), which was held in Northumberland last month, Dr Cunningham refused to attend.
Mr Yeomans expressed members concern about the additional costs which were having to be borne by primary producers rather than retailers.
For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 8-14 May, 1998