CENTRAL Devon MP Mel Stride held two meetings in his constituency recently with the Devon National Farmers’ Union to discuss the impact of Brexit on the agriculture industry and the progress being made in tackling bovine TB.

Mr Stride met with NFU members in Zeal Monachorum and Chagford, where funding for uplands farming, which relies heavily on EU support payments, was also discussed.

Speaking after the meetings Mr Stride said: ‘Farmers in Devon face a number of challenges. One relates to the possibility of financial support drying up due to Brexit.

‘I was pleased to report that the Government has confirmed that current arrangements will be protected until 2020.

‘Beyond that we will have to see what the proposals are but I have already made it known in Westminster that I will be fighting very hard to ensure that appropriate support is provided.’

Devon NFU Chairman Alex Stevens said: ‘It was very good to catch up with Mel and discuss a number of current pressing issues concerning our members.

‘These include Brexit, bovine TB and the importance of a food chain that supplies high quality produce to the nation and fair trade to Devon farmers.

‘The role of agriculture is fundamental to our county’s economy particularly providing much of the employment. Our visit to the top of Dartmoor, hosted by the Jordan family, is typical of many dynamic businesses where we saw top quality livestock, South Devon cattle, Scotch Blackface sheep and Dartmoor ponies.

‘All of which play a vital role in keeping the Dartmoor scenery that we all love and admire.

‘Beyond 2020 the next generation of farmers need to be recognised for the valuable contribution they make to our economy and unique landscape.’

Mr Stride is encouraging farmers in his Central Devon constituency to participate in an NFU consultation on the future of British farming by visiting www.nfuonline.com