Cornwall for Europe has set up a new campaign group to engage the farming community in issues about Brexit. In the last year they have held over 100 street stalls in towns across Cornwall but are now branching out to form groups covering different interest groups such as farming.
Cornwall for Europe held their first farming stall at Hallworthy Livestock Market last Thursday. Attending on behalf of the group was retired farmer and regular stall organiser Howard Farmer who has organised similar events all around Cornwall on a regular weekly basis since the group was formed about 2 years ago.
Also attending were former Cornwall Councillor and farmer from Liskeard Jim Candy as well as Veterinary Surgeon from Bude Tom O’Sullivan. The organisers explained their main objective was to engage with the farming community and to listen to the concerns that led so many of them to vote to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. In anticipation of what might be the main issues, the group brought along the now familiar ‘Brexitometer’ with 5 questions which they believed to be relevant, given the present state of the Brexit debate.
Howard Farmer said “It is great to see how happy the majority of the people here are to discuss the issues with us, regardless of how they voted in 2016 which seems to have been a majority to leave”. He went on to observe ”while the vast majority of respondents are mistrustful of politicians in Westminster they are more or less equally divided on the support for a vote on the final deal, whatever it might be”.
Jim Candy said ”I am surprised that some farmers still support a no deal Brexit given the dire warnings from the National Farmers Union. The NFU is especially concerned in relation to the export trade of lamb meat to France”. Tom O’Sullivan said how pleased he was to be back having been Veterinary Surgeon at the market some years ago. “It is great to meet again with staff and farmers alike. I am especially interested in the fact that for many farmers the burden of regulations was a major factor in deciding to vote leave, however when asked if they thought that burden would be lessened by leaving the EU, the clear majority agreed it would not”. Tom went on to say he felt the leave campaign had exploited the difficulties farmers, as well as other groups, face and promised solutions which it has now become clear are undeliverable.
Overall the organisers were delighted with the event and the team is planning to run more stalls at farming community events and continue to engage with the general public several times a week all over Cornwall.