We are leaving the EU because it is a good thing for our country in general and I do not believe agriculture will be adversely affected by Brexit. Throughout the EU referendum campaign one of the main concerns was the possible impact a Brexit vote would have on our farming industry and our smaller farmers.
This is mainly down to the fact that through the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which helps support farmers across Europe to produce the right amount of what we need, farmers receive subsidies and some farms rely on them to stay afloat and farmers were concerned these would stop.
As the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom, has already stated, the Government will commit to continuing the subsidies for farmers for a number of years and then the subsidies will be reviewed. So rather than bureaucrats in Brussels deciding where subsidies should go, what we should be farming and how, it will be our experts here in the UK deciding those things in the best interests of the UK.
So when Pauline Latham, MP for Mid Derbyshire, and I visited Baldfields farm in Etwall recently and met with Angela Sergeant and the NFU we were both able to reassure our farmers that the Government is committed to supporting them.
The United States is another country which relies on farming as a major employer. They also subsidise their farmers and their farming industry is doing well without being a member of an overbearing organisation like the European Union.
Since being elected in 2010 I have tried to do all I can to help our local farming community, especially through some very difficult times, like the fall in the amount a milk producer can get per litre. My work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dairy as a member and then as Chair before being appointed a Government Whip in July has been so important to me. There were many meetings, press releases, statements and reports we did to publicise the benefits of dairy and get a better deal for our farmers.
Being able to cut the red tape our farmers have to deal with and doing more to prevent overwhelming imports of EU produce to the UK will allow our farming industry to flourish in a world where some have forgotten its importance.
I believe Brexit will give our farmers the freedom to decide for themselves what plans to pursue and farmers big or small will have a real say in the future of the industry, playing a key part in its direction and, as always, I will continue to support them in every way I can.
(This article was originally written for the Burton Mail).