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Farmers urged to join EU debate

Farmers urged to join EU debate

Published at 12:28pm 24th February 2016. (Updated at 5:53pm 24th February 2016)

With the date now set for an EU referendum, Yorkshire's farmers are being encouraged to have their say on the issue.

There's concern that agriculture is being left out of the debate over whether or not Britain stays within the European Union.

In response, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society has arranged an open meeting next month.

A panel of experts, including academics and representatives from the farming industry, will explore the issues before a question and answer session at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn on 10 March.

Nigel Pulling, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, said: "The referendum is at the top of the Government's agenda, but the lack of information about the issues means most people are struggling to make an informed decision.

"Our aim is not to try to influence how people vote, but to inform debate and stimulate discussion."

A report commissioned by the Society entitled 'Brexit and Agriculture' will also be discussed at the event.

It was produced by the Farmer-Scientist Network which was set up to improve links and share knowledge between farmers and academics.

The event will be chaired by Richard Wells, a former North of England correspondent for BBC radio and television news.

He said: "We have heard so much in recent weeks about concerns over mass migration, child benefits and the importance of national sovereignty, but nothing about agriculture. So it is an honour to be part of a process which will help informed debate.

"It couldn't be happening in a better place than Wensleydale. It has been my home for almost 30 years and the forthcoming referendum will be a crucial time for so many people in North Yorkshire and the North East who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods."

More information about the event at www.yas.co.uk