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Archbishop talks with Warwickshire farmers
08/05/18

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, has met with Warwickshire farmers so that he can better understand the challenges being faced by the farming community. Archbishop Justin had a tour of Bondon Farm, near Rugby, where he saw ewes, lambs and a suckler herd of Devon cattle. He then had a private meeting with Minette Batters, President of the NFU, before sitting down to a working lunch with ten local farmers.

The farmers chose the topics that they wanted to discuss.  Archbishop Justin listened carefully and asked questions about:

  • Bovine TB problems in Warwickshire  - which is now an “edge area” meaning frequent tests on cattle;
  • Milk prices and the dominance of supermarkets;
  • The delay payment of the Basic Payment Scheme causing cash flow problems;
  • Weather – causing difficulties in potato planting, and more particularly causing unparalleled losses of both ewes and lambs;
  • Farm safety and the increase in farming accidents, injuries and deaths;
  • Depression and loneliness in farming and the sense of feeling undervalued;
  • The work of FCN (The Farming Community Network) and agricultural chaplains who support the farming industry during difficult times.

After the meeting, the Bishop of Warwick, the Right Reverend John Stroyan, said:

“This was a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the partnership between the Church and farming both locally and nationally.  I was delighted to be able to introduce the Archbishop to Minette Batters, President of the NFU, and for them to engage with local farmers on issues of national importance.  Such a partnership is particularly important in the light of Brexit.”

Michael Chicken, NFU representative for Rugby, commented that it was, “A really worthwhile meeting and a fabulous opportunity to exchange views and concerns.”