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Let’s get a moove on now with Brexit, say farmers - with video

By James Pugh | Telford | Farming | Published: | Last Updated:

People in the farming industry have issued fresh calls for the government to put an end to Brexit uncertainty.

Farmers attending the UK Dairy Day event in Telford said they want Brexit sorted so they can start planning for the future

As the Brexit saga continues to rumble on, not knowing what the impacts of leaving the EU with or without a deal will be, is making them nervous.

They were speaking at UK Dairy Day – one of the biggest annual events in the farming calendar which attracted thousands of people to Telford's International Centre yesterday.

Despite overwhelmingly being in support of leaving the EU, many farmers are concerned about their future.

There are fears that a no-deal Brexit would see them facing immediate tariffs on agri-food exports, rendering them uncompetitive.

UK Dairy Day at Telford International Centre

UK Dairy Day organiser Hannah Williams said: "Whatever needs to happen, needs to happen soon and it needs to be definitive.

"Everybody needs to understand where we are and what the future is.

"I appreciate there are people on both sides of the fence and everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but what I think we need now is a definitive solution going forward so we can understand what is going to happen in terms of imports, exports and prices.

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"Everyone is very nervous because nobody knows what is going to happen."

Her thoughts were echoed by farmers from the region who attended the event.

Lisa Window milks about 70 cows at her farm in Hunnington, Halesowen, and admits they have had to diversity to survive.

"It's tough. There's no way you can survive with that size of herd without doing other things. We have got caravan storage, dog park, and retail all our milk.

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"I have given up listening to the news but my message would be get out of Europe and get on with it," she said.

Farmers from all over Shropshire and the Midlands attended

James Doherty milks about 200 cows at a farm in Weston-under-Redcastle, near Shrewsbury.

"I don't think anybody knows what's going to happen, not just in agriculture.

"What can you plan for? We haven't done anything different," he said.

UK Dairy Day is now in its sixth year having launched in 2014 and it is organised by Holstein UK.

The event brings together all facets of the dairy industry; farmers, students, breeders, geneticists, vets, feed merchants, dairy equipment suppliers and milk buyers – plus professional service providers, charities, and colleges.

It provides an opportunity for anyone connected to the dairy industry to network, share knowledge, learn, and most importantly make business decisions ahead of the winter.

It showcased the best UK Dairy breeds with The National Holstein Show, The National Ayrshire Show, The National Brown Swiss Show and classes for Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey and Jersey breeds.

Positivity

Hannah said: "I have been involved in the show from the very beginning. I originally worked here at the venue as event manager for the show for two years. Then I went across to work for Holstein UK on Dairy Day.

"I am from an agricultural background and it was sort of my dream job. I love events and agriculture, and it sort of pushed the two together.

"The event is a real showcase for the dairy industry. It's a great experience to share knowledge with colleagues, customers, and learn about the new products and technology coming out.

"We have got an amazing cattle show. We have got over 170 cattle here from across seven dairy breeds.

"The venue is amazing. Having worked here myself and seeing it from a client side, we take over the whole of the venue and make it our own.

"Anyone would say it's not an easy time in the dairy industry. Obviously with Brexit going on at the moment, it's a very uncertain time.

"But I think something like today shows the positivity of the dairy industry and actually what a great industry we have.

"There are a lot of great things out there that we just need to shout about."

Other than Brexit, technology and environmental issues were among the topics that featured at the event.

"Animal health is always on the agenda. We know TB is a big problem. But I think farmers are becoming more aware of having health protocols in place.

"I don't think milk prices are in a great place. They haven't changed a lot in the last 12 months. Any dairy farmer would say it's not enough.

"It is very difficult for farmers to have the money to invest in the future if it's not there, so it still needs to improve," Hannah added.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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