Downham Market farmers’ meeting hears of need for unity following Brexit

National Farmers union members discuss the evening.  From left - Group secretary Patrick Verrell, Downham Market and Southery branch chairman Ed Linkfer, county adviser John Newton and regional director Robert Sheasby. Picture: PETER BIRD ANL-161219-151649001
National Farmers union members discuss the evening. From left - Group secretary Patrick Verrell, Downham Market and Southery branch chairman Ed Linkfer, county adviser John Newton and regional director Robert Sheasby. Picture: PETER BIRD ANL-161219-151649001

A clarion call for farmers to come together in the wake of Brexit was issued by the chairman of a local National Farmers’ branch on Friday.

Ed Linkfer, chairman of Downham Market and Southery branch of the NFU, said that changes in agriculture because the UK is to leave the European Union posed problems for the industry.

He was speaking at a evening meeting of the branch at Dent’s Farm Shop, Hilgay.

He warned that farming had changed radically in recent years.

Farmers were faced with new technology such as advances in machinery and farming techniques.

In addition, he said, “The politics of agriculture, including Brexit, are making it very difficult for farmers. But we have to carry on.”

He drew attention to some of the other factors that affected farming such as pesticides, water pollution and the use of antibiotics.

“It’s a rapidly changing future for farming,” he added.

The event drew farmers, both members and non members of the union, from a wide area around Downham and Mr Lankfer was keen to stress that it was more important than ever that farmers spoke with one voice.

He said the union was there to help with problems and protect, especially, the many small farmers in the industry.

He stressed: “It’s a time when we must stick together.”

The evening gave all those involved with farming a chance to meet their neighbours and colleagues and socialise together.

Many were members of Downham Market Young Farmers club.

“We re hoping they will join the NFU,” said Mr Lankfer.