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Expert Speakers to offer a Vision for the future of farming 21 February 2007

Island farmers are being offered a unique opportunity to hear a vision of British and European agriculture in ten years time, from two expert speakers who will each have considerable influence in shaping that future. The presentation, arranged as part of DAFF’s winter meeting programme, will take place at the Mount Murray Hotel and Country Club on 23 February at 2:30 pm to 4pm.

The presentation is intended to provide farmers with a long-term view of British and European farming policy and the implications for both the industry and the individual farmer in preparation for a period when the Island’s industry is to experience significant change.

Sir Donald Curry chairman of the Sustainable Farming & Food Implementation Group and one of the most influential people in British Agri-politics today, and Clarke Black Chief Executive of the Ulster Farmers’ Union are to give their opinions at a meeting to be chaired by Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Phil Gawne MHK.

The Minister said “I am aware of the concerns of many involved in the industry as regards the future for Manx agriculture. This meeting is intended to help provide farmers with a long-term view of British and European farming policy. European agriculture will be a dominant influence in the future trading environment Manx agriculture is to face. I believe the presentation will help us all in our understanding of what the future of agriculture will be and would urge as many as possible involved in the industry to attend.”

Notes for Editors:

1. Sir Donald chaired the Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food which reported to the UK Government in 2002. The report “Farming and Food, a sustainable future” was widely endorsed by both the UK Government and stakeholders and was regarded as providing an important new vision for the farming and food industry and a blue print for future UK Government policy. He is currently Chairing an implementation group with responsibility for delivering the UK Government’s strategy based on the Policy Commission Report.

2. Clarke Black was appointed Chief Executive of the Ulster Farmers Union in May 2002. He was a member of the Food Strategy Group which reported in August 2004. He is also Director of the Farm Family Development Limited and represents the Ulster Farmer’s Union in Concordia, an informal social partnership involving the Trade Union, CBI, voluntary sector and agriculture. The UFU represents over 12,500 members, giving the Union political strength and providing the necessary funds to enable effective representations on behalf of Northern Ireland farmers.

3. Contact: Hon Phil Gawne MHK, Minister on 416221 or 685839

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