Brexit dominates Norfolk farmers’ Concerns to Brains Trust panel

Brexit dominates west Norfolk farmers’ questions to Brains Trust panel

Brexit concerns dominated the questioning to Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society's

Brexit concerns ruled the questioning to Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society’s “Brains Trust” panel. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Brexit and politics dominated the notions of west Norfolk farmers as they grilled a weapon of agricultural specialists on the prospects for their business.

Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society's 2018 winter wheat competition winner Robert Smart (centre) pictured with, from left, society chairman Paul Wortley and 'Brains Trust' panellists Alex Ison from Cruso & Wilkin, Mark Haydon from Whiting & Partners Accountants, and Andrew Blenkiron from Euston Estate.Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society’s 2018 winter wheat contest winner Robert Smart (centre) pictured with, from left, society chairman Paul Wortley and ‘Brains Trust’ panellists Alex Ison out of Cruso & Wilkin, Mark Haydon out of Whiting & Partners Accountants, along with Andrew Blenkiron from Euston Estate.

Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society encouraged a “Brains Trust” for the January meeting, including Alex Ison, an associate partner at Cruso and Wilkin chartered surveyors at King’s Lynn, Mark Haydon, managing partner of Whiting and Partners Lawyers, along with Andrew Blenkironproperty director at the Euston Estate near Thetford.

Of the queries put to the board by club members linked from the EU, including the impact on property prices, the regulation of genetically-modified crops, as well as the decrease of red tape.

And next environment secretary Michael Gove’s recent statement that prospective farm payments will be contingent on wildlife-friendly standards, one of the more pointed questions is: “Does the board think now is the time to stop saving each species of flora and fauna, and start saving the food manufacturer?”

Mr Blenkiron explained: “I think what Michael Gove was saying is that we’ve got to continue this path we’ve been to deal with the environment better than we ever did in the 1970s, once I’d say we were guilty of not looking after matters and we ought to have.

“You want to be rewarding to be able to accomplish this. As long as we are rewarding and as along as the incentive isn’t for us to rip out hedgerows and trees, we could do it but we have to have to keep our capacity.

“All round the world, farmers are good at following the cash. We had been paid to rip out hedgerows and we all had been compensated to empty the land. All of a sudden folks were asking why we had countless pounds of excess, so we had put aside to correct the balance.

“I am very positive about the near future. We will all adapt and we are capable of doing whatever we need to perform. But that which we have seen from the government during the previous 60 decades of farm coverage is they will cock this up. We will over-produce or under-produce and we will have to locate a way to balance it.”

Mr Haydon explained: “There were times when we didn’t perform and we can, but the farmer didn’t wish to be grubbing up hedges — it had been the financial thing to do. We had been pushed too far down that road ahead, however it is a question of getting that balance. Food production has got to be the principle action in this region of earth. There are aspects we need to be productive on, and there should be incentives for the surroundings”

Mr Ison included: “We need to maintain a balance. We cannot let the environmentalists and Michael Gove order to us that what’s about flora and fauna. In my experience there are successes and failures. I never watched a buzzard or a kite in Norfolk, when I was younger, however they have taken over at the cost of some of these songbirds. So there needs to be a balance all and I don’t think farmers move out of the way to destroy flora and fauna.”

The trophy was claimed by Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society’s winter wheat competition’s winner .

Robert Smart out of Marshland St James retained his title with a sample of Cordiale with a specific burden of 76.8.

In second place was Jon Tomkins out of Watlington and third were Roger Eyles out of Northwold along with Jim Smart from Marshland St James.

The club’s next meeting is on February 6 by Albert Bartlett and Sons, with a discussion on potato growing and packing by Justin Wilderspin, field operations director at Ryston Park Golf Club near Downham Market.

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