January 18, 2008: Defra and the Government at Westminster don’t care about farming and sheep farmers and livestock producers have no sustainable future, it was claimed at the British Wool Marketing Board annual conference in Bradford.

Frank Langrish, chairman of the British Wool Marketing Board, talked of a great divide between the UK’s three devolved administrations on the importance of farming.He said: “It’s all part of Defra’s policy to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases. The UK government believes a reduction in livestock numbers will have a marked effect on the statistics. This is the logic of the asylum, where the lunatics are now completely in charge.”Langrish, who farms sheep in Sussex, added: “The UK government no longer wishes to have anything more to do with agriculture; and thoughts of food security have, for the time being, disappeared.”James Withers, the deputy chief executive of NFU Scotland, while agreeing with the thrust of Langrish’s comments, stressed the benefits of devolution when he spoke to The Scotsman.He was reported as saying: “We are fortunate in Scotland to have a government and a parliament which is taking food policy seriously. Obviously, we will only be able to judge a new national food policy by what it actually delivers, but the noises are encouraging.”The same cannot be said of Defra and the UK government. Their policies sit in silos and ‘joined-up’ government has become a catchphrase rather than a reality.”

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