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Spalding farmer calls for ‘proper plan’ as Jeremy Clarkson says Government eco subsidies are more profitable than food crops

‘We should be incentivised to produce as much food as possible’ says a Spalding farmer who has echoed concerns raised by celebrity Jeremy Clarkson.

James Lacey, who runs a mixed agricultural and horticultural business, has called for the Government to introduce a proper plan for the nation’s food.

Mr Clarkson, whose third series of the popular Clarkson’s Farm has been released, wrote in the Sunday Times Magazine that he is planting non-food crops in three fields as this is more profitable due to the Government’s post-Brexit Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme.

Spalding farmer James Lacey is calling for an proper plan for British grown food
Spalding farmer James Lacey is calling for an proper plan for British grown food

The National Farmers’ Union has been calling on politicians to look at food sustainability rather than rely on imports.

Mr Lacey said: “I believe farmers should be incentivised to produce as much food, with as little environmental impact as possible. We shouldn’t just be subsidies for owning land.

“While there are incentives for enhancing and protecting habitat and wildlife, much of which we already do, what we really need is the right plan in place from all political parties to allow for profitable production, stability and confidence that allows us to reinvest and thrive.

Tractors in action PHOTO: STOCK
Tractors in action PHOTO: STOCK

“A lot has been said about food security and the balance between environmental targets and food production, but we clearly need measures that will help farmers through the current crisis and allow us to maintain production and cope with the many challenges we face, that includes extreme weather given the serious flooding across Spalding and Boston since the end of last year.

“Farmers grow crops and rear livestock very well here in South Lincolnshire. What farmers, growers and the public need now are practical and progressive policies and a proper plan for British food.

“We must also not fall into the trap that we can simply import our food needs from other countries – we’ve seen that approach fail before with empty supermarket shelves and we know there is strong public opinion against importing food from elsewhere that is produced in ways that would be illegal here.”

The energy crisis, war in Ukraine and flooding are some of the challenges which are facing British agriculture in recent years.

Gabriella Gregory, NFU Holland county adviser, said: “Food is something that connects us all – we cannot live without it and all our research shows people really value our farmers and growers for the work they do day-in, day-out to feed us.

“The NFU manifesto ‘Farming for Britain’s Future’ makes key asks of the next government to ensure we can continue to deliver for the environment, economy and local communities while producing more of the great British food we all enjoy.

“Farmers, growers and people across the country want to know how parties plan to boost sustainable, home-grown food production as well as care for the environment and tackle climate change.

“Our data shows it will influence who they vote for at the ballot box.

“As a country, there are multiple priorities and challenges, and this manifesto shows that food security must be one of them, with our farm businesses supported to invest and grow for the benefit of everyone.”

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