Young farmers on an industry development scheme got the chance to meet leading MEPs and learn about the working of the European Parliament during a trip to Brussels.
The group of 17 is from the National Farmers’ Union’s Cereals Development Programme, comprising cereal and arable farmers in their 20s and early 30s who are seen as future leaders in the sector. They had lunch with prominent British members of the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, visited the hemicycle debating chamber and heard in detail how EU law is shaped by the key institutions the Parliament, EU Commission and Council of Ministers.
They were hosted by Anthea McIntyre, the West Midlands MEP and Conservative agriculture spokesman in Brussels, and also met MEPs James Nicholson (Northern Ireland), John Procter (Yorkshire and the Humber) and Julie Girling (South West).
Miss McIntyre took them through the different ways MEPs can influence new legislation and outlined some of her key projects – including her work to stave off a potential ban on the herbicide glyphosate. She also spoke of her campaign to promote enhanced use of technology in agriculture through methods such as robotics, precision spraying and gene editing.
Miss McIntyre said: “This important NFU programme is really about preparing young, bright, inquiring farmers to lead their industry into the future. It will help them to better understand the political process and how best to engage with policy-makers – and I was hugely impressed by their keen interest and their incisive questions.
“It was also useful for them to see how decisions in here in Brussels will continue to have an impact on UK farmers after Brexit.”