Farmers 'can cut through red tape'

Jan 6 2003

By Anna Lognonne, The Journal


Farmers will have to become more responsible for food safety and the environment if they want red tape cut, Donald Curry will tell the Oxford Farming Conference

Sir Don, who farms in Northumberland, is the opening speaker at the two-day conference, which starts tomorrow, and he will talk about how his report on the Future of Food and Farming has progressed over the year.

Now overseeing the implementation of the Government's strategy for agriculture, issued in response to his report, Sir Don will tell delegates that the industry must play its role in implementing the scheme.

He will say that farmers are facing serious pressures because of the red tape, which is strangling the industry. But Government will only be encouraged to intervene less if farmers take on more responsibility for their actions, via strategies such as farm assurance schemes.

Also on the opening day, Defra Minister Margaret Beckett will share the platform with her French counterpart, Hervi Gaymard.

Mrs Beckett is going to talk about Defra's plans to bring stability to the countryside after more than half a decade in economic depression, while Mr Gaymard will talk about France's stance on CAP reform.

However, Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has had to pull out of the conference. He had been scheduled to talk about the mid-term review of the CAP but the timetable for the announcement of the scheme's details has been moved back and Mr Fischler now has meetings in Brussels regarding the content.

Instead, Lord Haskins has agreed to present a paper entitled Why there is a future for British agriculture.

The title of this years Oxford Farming Conference is Real Solutions for the Future.

The second day will focus on practical solutions and real life experiences.

The event will end with an address from the Princess Royal, who will present a paper on the definition of a farmer in the 21st Century.

The conference is now fully booked and there are 500 delegates expected to attend.