Jacob Rees-Mogg writes for The Journal: Recently, I met some members of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), many of whom have farms or businesses in North East Somerset.
The meeting was well attended where many issues were raised. The topics of greatest concern were: the transition to new grants; the production of more local food; egg production owing to Avian Flu; subsidies; public sector procurement of local food; diversification and the effect of the war in Ukraine on food imports. The lack of people available to work in local businesses providing food was also mentioned as was the desire to simplify the paperwork that is needed to apply for grants. The members were also keen to talk about how they could start to produce their own energy, something that is important for future sustainability and relying less on foreign sources.
NFU members are an impressive group, they work closely together and are at the forefront of adopting modern practices in order to bolster prosperity and productivity. There is still a desire to show that Malthus was wrong. For example, I was shown a demonstration of the way in which a drone can be used to survey fields precisely so that fertilisers and herbicide can be applied with fingertip precision.
I also met two constituents who have set up a vineyard in Corston, which is an exciting new venture. Minerva Bath Sparkling Wine, which is based on land that was once used by the Romans for wine production, was set up in 2015 and prides itself on using traditional methods. The combination of this with modern technology really does highlight the brilliance of these winemakers and I look forward to having a tour in the summer.
We are so lucky to have such innovative, hardworking producers in North East Somerset. These are people who care deeply about their professions, about the environment and about maintaining long-held traditions with a nod towards the future.