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The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) is calling on Prime Minister Keir Starmer to support Kent’s farmers and contribute £400 million to the local economy.

Farmers from across the county have joined forces to call on the new Labour Government to recognise the importance of Kent’s £400 million agricultural industry.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy leader David Exwood made the call alongside colleagues from across the South East during the Kent County Show in Detling at the weekend.

LR Kent farmer Alan Clifton-Holt, NFU East Regional Director Zoe Leach and NFU Vice President David Exwood

He said: “A new Labour government now offers us many opportunities.

“The most important thing that farming needs is an agricultural budget. This is not just ‘money for farmers’, but the funding that will help the sector transition from the old EU system, enable farms to invest in the future and meet the government’s goals on sustainable food production, food security, the environment and net zero.

“We look forward to building on our strong engagement with Labour ministers to date to discuss important policy solutions on key issues for our members. There are a number of policies in the Labour manifesto that we want to see implemented, such as ensuring the new environmental land management schemes work for all farms, setting core standards for food imports and legislation to boost public procurement.

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“At the same time, there are several issues that need to be given greater consideration if the sector is to realise its growth potential, such as a targeted seasonal worker programme, effective import controls, fairness in the supply chain, investment in infrastructure and flexibility in planning.

“It is of enormous importance for this district, this region and the entire country that agriculture can flourish.”

Farmers from across the county gathered at the Kent County Show in Detling at the weekend

According to the NFU, agriculture contributes £405.8 million to the local economy and provides over 13,250 jobs in the county.

It also highlights that agriculture underpins the UK’s largest manufacturing sector – the food and drink industry – which contributes more than £128 billion to the economy and employs four million people.

Alan Clifton-Holt, chair of the NFU East of England regional board and a farmer on Romney Marsh, added: “Kent’s farmers create thousands of jobs and boost the local economy, delivering high quality, sustainable food and always adhering to the highest animal welfare standards, while protecting the countryside and the environment.”

“After an extremely difficult period for farmers, the new government must now work with the NFU to give the industry confidence and stimulate growth.”