UK's next generation potato farmers meet with Parliament

While British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was preparing to make her biggest Brexit speech to date – 12 delegates from AHDB Potatoes “Next Generation” scheme made their own mark on the Houses of Parliament.

Attending their penultimate session in the program, the “Next Generation” of British potato farmers were given the opportunity to visit the iconic buildings to meet MPs Mark Spencer and Andrew Bridgen to discuss rural issues.

The AHDB Potatoes’ Next Generation program enables future industry ambassadors to learn about areas of business that impact on the potato industry that they would not ordinarily be exposed to; preparing them to be the catalysts of future industry success.

The group were able to discuss industry challenges, including the effects of Brexit, water abstraction, plant health, agricultural science and the Great British food and farming plan.

Commenting on the experience of the day, Edward Backhouse a grower from East Yorkshire and member of the Next Generation 2017 team, said: “This isn’t something that you get to do every day, or even something I think I’ll get to do again."

“To have the opportunity to speak directly with MPs about the issues that matter personally to my business and the wider industry is great, and to have them be so open about everything was quite refreshing.”

AHDB and the NFU
Prior to their discussion on the £4.1bn industry, the group were treated to a tour of the historic grounds before heading to the National Farmers Union (NFU) offices in Westminster.

Matt Ware (NFU's Head of Government and Parliamentary Affairs) and Alex Godfrey (Lincolnshire farmer and chair of NFU’s Potato Forum), gave insightful talks regarding the role of the NFU, their close relationship with AHDB and advice on how to proactively interact with MPs and the Government to gain maximum impact.

“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of contacting your local MP, not just as a one off, but if you have a valid point and something you’d like to raise, I think you should have the confidence and the foresight to push your MP on the issues.” Matt told the delegates.

“Invite them to your farm, invite them to have a look around. Get your local press involved. There you’ll have the opportunity to talk openly and show them the concerns you wish to raise.” Matt added.

For more information:
Stuart Baxter
AHDB Marcomms
Tel: 024 7647 8926
stuart.baxter@ahdb.org.uk



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