In this blog post, Madge Moore, chair of the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network, explains why rural-minded champions should consider applying to join the network.
At this delicate juncture for British agriculture and the countryside, it is crucial that the Government hears the voice of our food and farming industry and our rural communities loud and clear.
It is for this very reason that the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network exists.
Our group is the Defra network for Yorkshire. Supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, together as a group we champion the needs of our rural communities, enabling them to become more resilient, competitive and sustainable.
This is achieved by articulating local issues directly to government at ministerial level and by collaborating to develop local solutions to local problems.
This direct line into the heart of Westminster, affords us a meaningful opportunity to raise issues that challenge the viability and productivity of our region’s farming and rural businesses, as well as the vibrancy of the communities which these enterprises lie at the heart of.
To ensure our network remains at the forefront of political decision-making, we are searching for new members who share our determination for a real focus to be maintained at the highest-level of government to create a better future for everyone who lives and works in Yorkshire’s countryside.
There could not be a more opportune time to articulate this message. Now that Britain has formally left the European Union, we have a valuable opportunity to inform how new environmental and agricultural policies are structured and to make the case for trials and pilot schemes to take place here in Yorkshire.
It is so important, for example, that the rural voice influences the design of Defra’s Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS). Intended to reward farmers for delivering public goods, this new policy will impact upon all our farms and rural businesses as direct support payments are replaced.
We need committed people who are knowledgeable about rural life and are not afraid to be forthright in their views to become members of the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network.
From small and large business owners to farmers from all sectors, we are particularly interested in people with expertise in issues such as broadband and mobile coverage, the environment, the needs of small businesses and the need for greater support for young people in rural areas.
The network meets three times a year and holds conferences and events to get to the heart of pressing rural issues. We also actively encourage Defra to gain first-hand experience of what the challenges are in our area.
For more details about becoming a member, please email network co-ordinator Holly Jones at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone wishing to apply is asked to submit a CV and covering letter to Holly before Friday 28th February 2020.