Stafford MP, Jeremy Lefroy has backed a campaign highlighting the important contribution of the farming, food and drink industry to the economy, jobs, the environment and communities.
Farming in the West Midlands helps contribute around £800 million to the economy and as well as providing safe, traceable and affordable food, farmers also have a vital role managing the countryside.
Jeremy was at the NFU West Midlands’ reception in Westminster Hall on 11 June, sponsored by Matt Western MP, which aimed to raise the profile of the food and drink sector in the region - from those farming the raw ingredients to the product on the shelves.
Food produced by farmers in the countryside is integrally dependent on food manufacturing operations in more urban areas and vice versa. The event was an opportunity for both local food and drink manufacturers and farmers to meet with MPs to explain about their business and forge or build on working relationships. The reception in the Jubilee Room, in Westminster, was attended by more than 20 MPs and also marked the launch of the NFU’s Home-grown Heartland report that looks at the make-up of farming across the region.
Uttoxeter farmer David Brookes, NFU regional board deputy chairman; Debbie Pitt, procurement manager of Staffordshire and Shropshire-based PDM Salad Growers; Shropshire asparagus and cereal farmer Caroline Hulland, chairman of producer organisation West Growers Ltd (covering Worcestershire and Shropshire) and Herefordshire-based Paul Curran, Avara Foods broiler production manager, attended the event with NFU staff.
Commenting, Jeremy said: “There are so many worthy reasons to support British farmers: they are responsible for securing our fantastic British food supply, looking after our world-renowned countryside and sustaining a dynamic rural economy. That is why I have pledged to support the NFU West Midlands Home-grown Heartland campaign in Westminster and to ensure our decisions in Parliament reflect the strategic importance of regional food and farming to the nation.”
The NFU West Midlands Home-grown Heartland campaign spells out the region’s importance as the country’s larder but also how farms and other agri-businesses deliver for the economy, for jobs, the environment and communities.
The campaign champions the variety of ways in which farming benefits people and communities in the region and is the bedrock for the food and drink industry, the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.