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Lets work together – Farming Minister tells sell-out AIC conference


The new Defra vision for the future is broadly in line with the Agricultural Industries Confederations own policy, according to Farming Minister Jim Paice.

Speaking at AICs sell-out Agribusiness 2011 conference, Mr Paice was quick to reference the confederation’s own strategic policy priorities and said he was pleased to see that they shared much common ground with Defras.

A productive, sustainable agriculture is AICs first priority and this certainly ties in with what we are looking to achieve in Defra, said Mr Paice. Our number one priority is to create and encourage a profitable farming industry and it is a long time since that has been a target.

Referring to the second strand of AICs policy, Mr Paice agreed that leading the European agenda was vital. The only way we can achieve anything is to get engaged with Europe, he said. We have gone out of our way to forge friendships with other countries.

Enhancing supply chain dynamics, AICs third major policy theme, is also at the forefront of the Governments mind, said Mr Paice. This industry has to be competitive across the whole food chain to succeed, he told delegates.

Mr Paice was also quick to praise AIC for its work in safeguarding the use of ammonium nitrate fertiliser through the Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS), which he described as crucial for the industry.

The minister said he whole heartedly agreed with the importance of leading the food science vision, the fourth and final strand of AICs policy. He said he was particularly relieved that Defra had managed to safeguard most of its science and research budget when so many other areas faced cuts.

Summing up his speech, Mr Paice told delegates: We need to ensure we work with you and look forward to continuing to make that happen.

Referring to the title of this years conference, The BIG Picture!, David Caffall, AICs chief executive, said: That word big is important, as from where I sit, the big issues appear to get ever bigger. When AIC was formed in 2003 we were capable of tackling cross-sector issues but today many of the issues on water protection and climate change are not merely cross-sector, but cross industry.

Delegates also heard from AIC Sector Heads – Hazel Doonan (Crop Protection and Agronomy), George Perrott (Feed), Eileen Pullinger (Fertiliser), Paul Rooke (External Relations Policy) and Jane Salter (Environment Policy) who, for the first time at the conference, provided an insight into the work carried out on behalf of members during the year.

Julian Little, Chairman of the Agriculture and Biotechnology Council; Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agriculture, HSBC; Gaynor Hartnell, CEO, Renewable Fuels Agency; and Martin Haworth, Head of Policy, NFU, completed the speaker line-up.

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