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Lister challenges Labour over 'mega farm' claims

20th Feb 2018 / By Alistair Driver

NPA chairman Richard Lister has challenged Shadow Farming Minister David Drew to justify Labour's opposition to so-called 'mega farms'. 

listernfu22Mr Drew was standing in for Shadow Defra Secretary Sue Hayman, who was ill, at the NFU conference.  

During a question and answer session, Richard, who has pig units in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, said that, according to Labour his family farm is a ‘mega farm’. Why, he asked, should large scale farming be considered bad and what evidence is out there to suggest this?

He pointed out that investing in his business has allowed him to employ more specialist staff whilst reducing antibiotic use and emissions. Why should farmers that aspire to grow and develop be termed 'mega farms'. 

Mr Drew said he did not like the term 'mega farm' and that he was not against large farms, but that Labour wanted to shift support more towards smaller and tenant farms. 

"We need to encourage greater self-sufficiency amongst producers, processors and retailers. The priority must be to help smaller farmers and to invest resources where they will be most effectively employed, whilst accepting the drive for greater efficiency," he said.