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Motion calls on Government to help farmers

A motion before the General Synod, meeting later this month, calls on the Government to develop a long-term strategy for agriculture and introduce a retirement scheme for farmers. If carried, the motion also urges a clear food labelling policy and a reduction in the burden on farmers of paperwork.

The Synod will be debating a report, The Farming Crisis, produced by its Board of Mission, whose national rural officer, the Rev Jeremy Martineau, is based at the Arthur Rank Centre at the NAC, Stoneleigh.

The motion to be debated is:

'That this Synod, recognising the current crisis in agriculture which is affecting the wider rural community,
(a) welcome the Government's intention to "recycle" a proportion of agricultural funds into a new Rural Development Regulation and ask the Government to show its commitment to farming and the essential contribution it makes to the welfare of rural communities, in particular by:

(i) developing a clear long term strategy to ensure that we have both land and farmers able to make a large contribution to the feeding of the nation, and that the land is managed in environmentally acceptable ways;

(ii) introducing a retirement scheme for farmers which will enable them to leave the land with dignity;

(iii) insisting on a food labelling policy which will identify food produced under the best welfare conditions, and enable consumers to make an informed choice;

(iv) granting financial help for those organisations providing support for farming families;

(v) reviewing, and where possible reducing, the burden on farmers of paperwork generated by regulations and legislation; and

(b) urge dioceses, deaneries and parishes to show Christian concern for those adversely affected by severely declining incomes across the agricultural industry, especially by resourcing those organisations which provide support for farming families, to develop networks of chaplains to agriculture and rural life and to give practical support to the UK farm industry.'