Prince's concern for farmers

Source: FWi 26 November 2002

By Farmers Weekly staff

PRINCE Charles has again made representations on behalf of farmers to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The revelation came as the Prince toured the Royal Smithfield Show on Monday (25 November).

And he appeared undeterred by recent criticism about his policy of writing to government ministers on issues of concern.

Prince Charles had stopped to chat to Gordon Tully who runs the Wadderton Herd of South Devon cattle.

Mr Tully told Farmers Weekly that the Prince had indicated he was continuing to push Defra to help the industry.

"We thanked him very much for his support [for the British farming industry] and he told us that he had been on to Defra again this week," said Mr Tully.

"I was talking about the 20-day movement rule and how difficult it made things and he said he knew and that there was no common-sense with it."

The Prince's tour started in the sheep lines where he chatted to exhibitors.

Lee Parsons, a smallholder from Worcestershire, spent a few moments with the Prince chatting about her Galway sheep.

"He said that as patron of the Rare Breeds Society he ought to think about keeping some himself," she said.

At the Aria food stand, Prince Charles sampled a new meat product which has been designed to cook from frozen in just six minutes.

Mike Gooding, managing director of Aria, said the Prince had remarked how tender the meat was and showed surprise that it contained seaweed.

The meat strips went on sale in Sainsbury supermarkets on Monday (25 November).

Nobby Bristow, a butcher from Sussex, said he had discussed with the Prince the problems facing small retailers.

"What we were trying to do was emphasise the fact that small abattoirs are in severe trouble," said Mr Bristow. "He asked what he could do to help."

Farmers attending the flagship event at Earl's Court said the prince's appearance was a boost.

Laurence Gamble, a beef farmer from County Antrim who was there with his friend Henry Speers, said it was nice to have a champion for the industry.

"He's very much identified with the farming community. When people are so concerned with city issues it is nice to have someone looking out for the countryside."

Shortly before the Prince left the event at Earl's Court he was presented with a model of a Claas combine harvesterr.