Last Updated: 13 May 2019
Created: 13 May 2019
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson visited Roundhill Farm to meet with local farmer Adrian Hares and National Farmers Union representative Andi Witcombe.
The National Farmers' Union is the largest body representing farmers, and speaks up for 55,000 farmers across England and Wales – nearly 1,000 of which are in Wiltshire.
The meeting allowed Adrian and Andi the chance to outline issues affecting farming in Wiltshire such as; Brexit, the Agriculture Bill, and Rural Crime. Justin was able to outline what the Government is doing to support farmers and ensure that they benefit from the Brexit deal.
- Approximately 72% of the total UK area is utilised for agriculture (some 17.5 million hectares)
- Around 25% of UK land is used for arable crops such as wheat and barley, and 1% for horticultural crops
- In real terms, total income from farming is estimated to have risen by £1,683 million (41%) to £5,743 million.
- Some 474,000 people (c.1.5% of the total workforce) were working in the UK agricultural sector in 2017/18 and 218,000 on agricultural holdings.
- More than £66 billion of food and animal feed is traded into or out of the UK annually
- In 2017, the UK imported £46.2 billion of food, feed and drink products and exported around £22 billion
- The UK is currently 61% self-sufficient in all food
- 10% of the South West region's farming workforce is employed in Wiltshire
As Minister for Disabled People, Justin was also keen to discuss what employment opportunities the farming industry might have to offer people with disabilities and highlight the benefits people with disabilities could bring the industry.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “Farmers work incredibly hard throughout the year and in all weathers, and it is important that the Government backs them. Meetings like this give me the opportunity to listen to their concerns and understand how the Government can support the industry. It was a very constructive meeting, and I am grateful to Adrian and Andi for making time to speak to me.”