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AgriCulture Live Podcast Transcript - Episode 13

​AgriCulture Live - Episode 13 with guest Dan Boatright-Greene of the Liberal Democrats
'The Policies of the Liberal Democrats in Agriculture & Farming'

Rebekah 00:00

Good morning and welcome to Agriculture Live. My name's Rebekah Shields. I'm one of the directors at Agricultural Recruitment Specialists. Now we don't go anywhere. You don't want to miss this. It's a great episode. It's the first one of our election specials and we're looking at the election policies for agriculture and farming. If you've got any questions or comments for Dan, please post them in the comments section and we'll come to them when we can. So over to you,Dan. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Dan 00:35

Thank you, Rebekah. So yeah, I'm Dan Boatwright-Green and I'm the Liberal Democrat candidate for West Worcestershire, which is a very large constituency covering Pershore, Bredon and the surrounding areas across to Upton, then all of the countryside along the south of Worcestershire up through Malvern and then up to Tenbury as well. So it's a huge rural area which, I have to say, I absolutely love. I'm very lucky to live in the Pershore area of it. So yeah, I'm a former teacher and I now work in politics. I'm a district and county councillor for Pershore and I also help with my local parties as well.


My background's actually originally in archaeology and geology and I then moved into teaching and I taught geography and geology but also A-level archaeology and environmental science. So I've got a reasonably good understanding of kind of rural communities and rural matters. And originally I'm actually from a military family. So my dad was in the army, so I was brought up in Germany. My brother was in the army as well. My husband was in the RAF. My brother-in-law is still in the army, and so I've got a very good understanding of kind of community service and kind of what's happening in in that area. I moved to Pershore many years ago now, absolutely love it. Uh, you're not getting me out of this town anytime soon and we've got three dogs. Love the countryside and, yeah, I can actually see the lovely outdoors from where I'm sitting now.

Rebekah 02:06

Oh lovely. So, Dan, tell us how did you get into politics and why?

Dan 02:12

So basically, I'm in politics because I want to get things done. As a Liberal Democrat, I'm very community focused. I'm very practically minded. I don't really enjoy when people tell me that there are barriers in place. We can't do that because my immediate reaction is to find a way over, under or around it. I'm not interested in why that barrier is there. If the community wants something, we should really be aiming to do it, and that's a very Liberal Democrat approach to things.


I actually went to university in Liverpool and it's a very, very politically active city. At the time it was a Liberal Democrat council and their creativity and logic was what kind of really kind of brought the city to life. I never got massively involved in politics at the time. I very much kind of stood back. I am from quite a working-class family, so I did have to pay the bills, so I was working a lot as well as being at university, so I couldn't really volunteer as much as I wanted to. But then, when the Lib Dems lost control of the council in 2010, I've seen kind of the city really fall apart, and it's something that's always kind of really disappointed me because actually it was going in the right direction. Some fantastic things were being done and I sort of didn't really find myself looking at politics very much. If I'm honest. I was kind of very focused on, you know, trying to save up for a mortgage, trying to make sure that, you know, I had a relatively stable kind of job.


And then, in 2018, after Brexit and the shenanigans started in the Conservative Party actually, to be fair, I should probably just say - Boris Johnson got me into politics. If I'm honest, I just was not impressed with the way he did things and I wanted something that was a bit more reasonable and measured and not for effect, and so I've always been a Liberal Democrat in some way, shape or form, except during the coalition. I'll be the first to admit I had a bit of a small blip and I may have been slightly objectionable to my party, but we had some wonderful local councillors in the area and I wanted to support them. They convinced me to run in 2019 to be a district councillor. Pershore has three seats when you go up for election and I thought I'd come.


A reasonable fourth, because we had a very well-known conservative councillor at the time. It turns out, hard work pays off and I actually won by 150 votes and then I got more and more involved, really enjoyed it and then, in 2021, became a county councillor, getting me to run to be a parliamentary candidate, I think, was a bit more of a push. I did get the working-class imposter syndrome quite heavily at that point and I was like, no, people like me don't do this. But I had some fantastic people who supported me and really helped me gain my confidence and also show me that I do have the skills and the abilities to do this. Having a couple of disabilities as well, I was a little bit kind of concerned about the ways in which that was going to impact on me. Turns out, actually the last 18 months having been selected, it was definitely just imposter syndrome and actually I've been able to really get to know kind of how to do this properly and yeah, and now I'm running to be a member of parliament.

Rebekah 05:07

Well, congratulations for that, Dan. So, tell us about what changes your party would make regarding to the agricultural and farming issues that we've got?

Dan 05:19

So, I'm really proud of what the Liberal Democrats have come up with. We are a party that we don't just put together a policy behind closed doors. If anyone saw our conference in September, we thrash it out. It's one of those ones where there will be a policy debate. Everyone's free to talk, there will be amendments, plenty of amendments. There will probably be at least two procedural arguments during it, and it's one of those things that we really need to make sure that we get things right.


So the Liberal Democrat approach is very much about bringing the agricultural section kind of our manifesto into a farming and food policy, this idea being that growing food and training people to grow food and what we eat are all linked, and so the end user is just as important as those growing the food, and we need to make sure that that runs through our entire strategy. But it joined up thinking, I think, is what they call it, and so, basically, the immediate three key points that I've been told I have to say, no matter what is to, is to raise the farming budget by one billion pounds to support domestic food production, fix workplace shortages and let farmers, fishers and food processing recruit the workers they need, and to reopen and fix the botched trade deals and ensure food standards are not undercut, but the one thing I always kind of take from all of this is that the key message from us is everyone deserves good quality, fresh food, homegrown and fairly priced. No one should experience food poverty, and too much of our food is coming from abroad, and so our plan is about making sure that you can get access to the food you need, and also working with producers to promote healthy food. We are very aware that, obviously, we do need to factor in net zero policies. We need to move towards sustainable practices. I have to say, though, a lot of the farmers I know are already moving this way and are doing fantastic work, but we do need to support them, and we do need to have a government that's making sure that they actually do have a way to diversify what they're doing. We do need to get a bit creative Funding, and the schemes that we currently have are confusing.


I have a friend who I sat down with recently and I can honestly say trying to work out what the sustainable farming incentive actually did do. By the end of it, I think both of us had a headache, and we definitely, definitely wanted a glass of wine by the end, and we need to make things clearer for people. We need to make sure these in these actual schemes, work, that they're practical and that farmers can access them. Because I have to say I know I know a few who've just basically given up, and I think the last thing I want to kind of get across is that I don't remember ever being talked to at school about farming as an industry, as an option.


Whenever you kind of had like those careers tests and things. It always tried to send me to things like sports management, which I was, just because I was sporty did not mean I necessarily wanted to go and then work in it. And talking to young people now they're saying the same that it's just not, it's not something that's discussed in schools, and I think that's something we really need to think about a long-term strategy where we actually in education talk about careers where we actually really need them to go into.

Rebekah 08:32

I think that's a big thing. You know I harp on about it. You know we don't have education in terms of the farming sector in schools, so it's just not an option for people that aren't from that background or have farming families. So, it's really important, but you know it's not just about talking about it.

Dan 08:45

We need something in place, absolutely, and I think as a as a teacher, one of the things I always found quite interesting is that the number of young people who want to become forensic scientists. And don't get me wrong, rural crime is an issue and I'm never going to turn around and say that we do not need to focus on crime, but I can say, as someone with a background in archaeology, which is basically forensic science for ancient things is that we don't need that many people to be able to do a CSI style investigation and actually what we should be doing is those people who are more practically minded, because a lot of those young people. That's why they really want to do things about this.

Rebekah 09:21

Not everyone's academic Dan are, are they?

Dan 09:24

No, not at all. And I have to say, you know my brother's mechanic. My other brother works in a lumberyard. Uh, loves the job. I can imagine why - he gets a forklift, he loves it. And my sister works for a DIY store. You know, I'm the only one who's actually gone in a more academic route. Um, and they love their jobs and it's great that they do so. I think we do need to get a little bit more open-minded when we're talking to young people about professions, because there are amazing jobs out there and you don't need a degree for them. You can just go in, you can train on the job. Sometimes you might want to get a degree as you go through it. That's absolutely fine, but you don't have to, and I think that's the key aspect to this. And farming, yeah, I do, I do think gets let down a little bit by the education system.

Rebekah 10:05

Absolutely so. How are you guys unique in terms of really pushing for farmers and agriculture compared to the other parties?

Dan 10:21

So, the fact that we're integrating how we eat and buy our food all the way through to kind of growing crops so basically going from that very start all the way through to our end use I think is what makes us very different from the other parties.


We are a party that very much sits there and looks about kind of how we can join everything up and how can we actually really make sure that every policy we put in place works for everyone. So we don't just look at an industry on its own. We look at how it can impact upon the society we live in, how it impacts upon getting to carbon neutral, how it impacts on our mental health and our health services. And one of the things I really love about our policies and I'm really proud of this one actually, is that actually we've sat there, we've spoken to farmers, we've spoken to health professionals, we've spoken to um people who then sell our food or actually produce our food, and it all kind of is designed to help society and provide a fair deal for all, and that's something that I will always advocate in any policy, but particularly when it comes to what we eat.

Rebekah 11:18

I think that we struggle as a sector because we don't make up loads of the GDP.

Dan 11:25

Yeah, and it's really strange because you'd think, bearing in mind, I will eat at least three times a day, that's a lie. I will eat at least seven times a day. That, actually, it's something that we would have in the back of our minds when has this food come from, who's producing it, how far has it travelled and also, who is the person behind that food? And I think it's really disappointing sometimes that we always go back to that GDP point. But actually this is, these are real people growing our food and without it there'll be no GDP at all, because if you haven't got the food, you're not going to be doing anything else so you've got all your priorities in the Lib Dems.

Rebekah 12:05

Where does agriculture and farming sit in that list of priorities for the people watching?

Dan 12:10

So I would say that it's. We've got Tim Farron as an MP and Sarah Dyke as an MP, and if you haven't met them, I can tell you now. They're both forces of nature and there is not a chance that, the farming community and agriculture will not be championed by them. I don't think I've ever had a conversation with Sarah Dyke where it's not been about farming or rural life. It's, it's literally those are all the things we only talk about. Um, and you know, I always point out to people we are a party that's championing, championing agriculture, because we genuinely believe in it. We really have a really strong association with it and, just like I was looking up earlier, Sarah Dykes is amazing when it comes to talking about farming and she went to Harper Adams University. You know it's a specialist in food production.


A former NFU deputy president recently joined the Lib Dems. The room was full at conference when the NFU held their reception. I could barely move. I got in there quite early because I'm not going to lie, I wanted to go and talk to some people and I genuinely couldn't move. It was absolutely brilliant to see it. But it's also it's people like myself who are now coming through the party as well. I live in a rural constituency. I'm a total agri-tech geek. I'll be the first to admit this second. Someone starts telling me about new innovations in farming. I'm there, and so it's an exciting time for the Liberal Democrats when we're talking about rural life. We are traditionally the opposition to the Conservatives in rural areas and we're really showing that we are a real alternative and I'm really proud of that.

Rebekah 13:43

Oh, good for you, Dan. So obviously mental health is a big issue at the moment in farming. How do you, what are your plans as a party in terms of dealing with this?

Dan 13:56

Do you know, I knew this is going to be the hardest question for me to answer, and it's not because I don't have an answer, it's just it's something that I feel very strongly about and also, having ADHD myself, actually I do emotionally dysregulate quite easily but it's something I get really upset about in general just how poorly mental health is still treated in this country. And back in February, many Liberal Democrats we got involved in the Mind your Head campaign, which I have to say was really gut wrenching. And again back to our MP, Sarah Dyke. She had loads of resources that her team produced and we got lots of programmes going, and although it was just one week, I think it made us realise it's something we really need to integrate into everything we do, especially in real life where we can be quite isolated and we don't necessarily see each other every day or can't easily communicate and, in my area, can't always send a text message to each other because we still need a mast, and so this is one of those ones where, you know, we got quite heavily involved in the big farming tea break made many of us realize, actually in farming villages, that there is a bit of a disconnect between our residents and our farmers. And I'm really lucky where I live, um, my parish council has one of our local farmers on it, um, I always kind of joke with him about oh, I've just had a complaint from, uh, another resident about your tractors going through the village, um, at 20 miles an hour, not at the 30 limit, um, and he's, he's great and I don't think you mind me kind of mentioning just you know, we kind of we're really lucky, we've got that connection in the village and when there are issues we can work together. But also there's a really good community spirit, and so as liberal democrats we're all about making sure we promote that and also fund projects that enable people to get involved with their farming communities as well, and a lot of villages do this, but actually the small towns they've got that opportunity, especially with their fairs and their fates, to actually kind of help them do that. And that interaction and that community cohesion is something that as Liberal Democrats, we're really keen to make sure we promote. And getting farmers involved as well, and I have to say some of our farmers here are brilliant at doing that, because of course, young people can then go meet the sheep and the lambs and again we can hopefully then get them kind of onto the farms and kind of not only just improving the kind of the interactions with each other, improving that mental health, improving that community cohesion, but also them potentially getting people into the industry.


On a more serious note, though on a very specific note, we also need to make sure that mental health advisors, that counsellors we need to fund this properly, and it's not just for farming, but also it is for just the population at wide. We need to treat our mental health as physical health in the same way, and we do that in the Liberal Democrats. I'm very proud of that. We need to fund counselling programmes. We need to promote initiatives where people talk about their feelings, especially men. We are particularly bad at it. Well, I'm not. I'm probably a little bit of an oversharer, but actually we really do need to make that the norm, because we need to make sure that our farming community are, you know, in a position where they can get the help they need and they should never feel like they're a burden.


And I think this is the one that really struck me back in February when we were doing this oh, I don't want to be a burden. And my immediate reaction was first of all, you're not going to be a burden because I want to talk to you. Second of all, I actually enjoy talking to you and third of all, I actually want to be. I want to provide that support, and that's how most of us feel when we talk to any human being. I just feel like sometimes getting that across to blokes in particular can be a bit of a challenge, and there are too many suicides in the farming community and we need to get to grips with it. I hope that answered the question. It's just. It's one of those ones where I'm always like and another thing, and another thing there was a party.

Rebekah 17:28

Do you back the ‘Buy British’ stance?

Dan 17:32

Absolutely, and I have to say I was a bit struggling to say anything beyond that one. But, um, so I I'm one of those people. I check every label. I'm absolutely kind of terrible for it, but I'm also it's not just by British, it's for me, it's also by Worcestershire, and you know, I'm really proud of the fact that just down the road from where I am now we've got tomatoes grown in Fladbury. Uh, we've got apples kind of down in Martley that I always buy. I don't buy plums I don't need to, because I've got like four plum trees in my garden so I can honestly say if anyone needs any plums, let me know.


Um, but I'm always a big advocate of buying as local as you can. And actually my husband's just set up a wine bar in Pershore and this was the one thing we were desperate to start doing. We actually found it quite a challenge. It was a real struggle initially and actually at this end is something that, as Lib Dems, we're really keen to promote is making sure that we can get that interaction between kind of farmers and growers and those who then are providing food at the kind of the kind of the tourism and leisure end and the hospitality end, because we're okay now. It took us a good month, though, to start finding particular people who would be able to provide the kind of food we wanted. I have to say, there's some fantastic cider and lager producers in this area, so that was a particularly easy one for us. But, yeah, getting that food into our shops, into our restaurants as well, is really important.

Rebekah 18:56

Fantastic. So what about apprenticeships and farming?

Dan 19:02

So, I think a lot of people find this a bit strange, but I went and did a degree. I was very lucky. I went and did that. I'm not entirely sure if I'd go and do it again. If I'm honest, I think, if I had my time again, I think there are other routes. I probably would have taken and I'm sitting here, you know, with a Master's, I was funded to PhD level and I had a fantastic time at university. But I think if I had my time again, I do wonder if I would have done it, done it that way.


Apprenticeships for me are something that are fundamental to how we revolutionize our education system and at the moment they're just, they're too complicated and they are.


They just don't work properly.


And I was actually at Pershore College a couple of weeks ago talking to lecturers there and we actually need to support not just actually producing and creating the apprenticeships, but we live in a rural area and we need to get people to the colleges, we need to get them to where they're going to be doing their placements, and we're just about to take an apprentice on actually in our own business and it's been a minefield um, trying to fill in the forms, trying to get everything sorted.


So absolutely 100 percent, we support it. We need to make sure that the system works properly. We need to remove some of this bureaucracy because, frankly, some of the layers of it were completely unnecessary. I love a good, I love a good form, but, come on, this is a bit silly and we need to be able to help people get to the right places, either with public transport or providing transport options, so they can actually go and do their placements. It's a big ask but it's achievable and we can do it, and by doing all of this we'll get people into these industries and we will support them fully.

Rebekah 20:44

So, every other country has got a food target. Why doesn't the UK have one, and could you bring one in?

Dan 20:48

So this is always like talking to teachers about targets is always an interesting one, so setting targets are great, but then you have to meet it and I sometimes wonder the degree to which this approach is helpful. So I'm not against it, but I've always said I'm very pragmatic. I'm just not dogmatic. So, show me it works. And I'm 100% on board, and I think this is the one I always say to people is, this is one of those where I'm not against the idea, I'm not against the concept, but I really want to see, I want to see your data and I want to see that it works. And if I, if you can show me, I will be on board.

Rebekah 21:25

I think some, some of the guys I spoke to in the farming community they just like to know how they're performing and you know where we're up to, and that that's the reason behind it.

Dan 21:35

And I totally get that and I do see that one, and I've just it's one of those I've. I managed to find two completely different documents when I was researching this, one saying they're absolutely fantastic, it completely works, and then another one that was basically ripping it apart and I just sat there and went here we go. So it's one of those. I think, if it's done right, I think it actually, as you said, it can show people where we are, but I think it might need to be a soft touch target where we say, right, this is what we're aiming for, this is our aspiration, and then we set objectives and we set policies that then bring us to it, because otherwise, I think that'd get more policies you know happening.


Yeah, because we're heading towards something yes, and I think that will work. I think the problem is, in politics what tends to happen is people set these targets, they set them as fixed, kind of like quite hard targets. They then don't meet them and everyone says it's a failure. And for me, what I want to do is say, look, this is what we're aspiring to get to. It's going to take 10, 15, 20, 20 years, a few parliaments, and therefore, let's, let's really push and go for it.


And I think what really disappoints me is that in politics, what tends to happen and it happens on all sides is people will then start to go oh, you didn't meet that target, and and and it starts to fall away. So I think possibly what we need to do is find a way where the industry works with politicians, sets a target together and then drives that forward both with policy and industry, and I think that would be a way which is far more practical, and then we all have buy in, and then it would work. I just don't, if I'm honest, I don't like giving the politicians too much power, if I'm honest, and so I do sometimes think the industry needs to be the one who has control over it, and then you know you can beat us politicians with a big stick when we're not providing the support that you need.

Rebekah 23:30

Right big question - right. Historically, farmers have voted Tory. Why should the agricultural industry vote for the Lib Dems?

Dan 23:41

See, my immediate reaction to this one is do they, do they? The reason I say this is actually I do have quite a few members who are farmers and they've been members for a very long time actually, in some cases far longer than I have and a lot of the conversations I have with people is maybe, maybe traditionally. Traditionally they have voted more conservative, but in rural areas it's traditionally been a bit of a battle between the Lib Dems and the liberals before and the conservatives, and at the moment, I've got to be honest, I have been very well. Not actually, I haven't been very surprised. I've been a little bit surprised, but I've been more humbled by the support I've been getting from a lot of my local farmers. Little bit surprised, but I've been more humbled by the support I've been getting from a lot of my local farmers. They've been really unimpressed by the way the conservative government has handled Brexit, how they've put in barriers to trade, the chaos caused by the new subsidies.


Um, I have to say I've had many a rant about the New Zealand trade deal. Um, it's something that I am. You know, in New Zealand they are genuinely shocked that we signed that as a country. They really are shocked by it, and you just need to look at the standards and the different standards between kind of lamb production in New Zealand compared to us, and then, of course, you've got 10 pound kind of lamb legs in Iceland that are from New Zealand, and it's something that I find really frustrating, and actually it turns out that so do farmers, and so the Liberal Democrats have always been a party that's very details orientated, and that means, as a result, when we're speaking to farmers about our solutions, they tend to be quite pro what we're saying.


But I do need to massively thank Tim Farron for his hard work on this, because he has been committed to agriculture and making sure that it's you know, it's better in the UK and making sure that we promote UK farming, and so I think farmers are beginning to see that they do have a home in the Liberal Democrats, and I hope that that's something we can continue to push. I know I will be pushing regardless of what happens at the general and will continue to push after this, because I am still an elected representative and I will continue to do that for as long as well actually probably beyond when I'm in politics as well, if I'm honest. It's something I will always promote.

Rebekah 25:39

Thanks, Dan. So a big question. Another one! How will you make the industry more profitable for farmers? That's what they want to know.

Dan 25:47

I jokingly said and I actually stand by it. Actually now it was one of those you say in jest, I just went, get out of the way. I think politicians, genuinely we need to listen, we need to work with farmers, farmers and we need to kind of help and not hinder. And I think one of the big problems with politicians is they go into especially once we become ministers, they go into their ministry and they want to make the big impact. And I always make the comment about Chris Grayling with prisons. Um, what he did with prisons in 18 months was an absolute disaster.


And I've said that when you talk to a lot of politicians, they genuinely want to do good a lot of the time, but sometimes they can get a little bit blinkered by the fact that they're actually in this position and they want to make a name for themselves. And I've said that actually, the NFU have put together a fantastic manifesto for this election and it was really fun sitting down with a group of farmers and someone from the NFE a few months ago and I was handed it and I just went that's in ours, that's in ours. Yeah, we've got that one. Oh, that's an interesting one. I'll take that one back and I went through it and I just went. Yeah, actually, it's from a political point of view. We need to be this. We are the supporting character in this. We are the ones who should be, you know, helping enact policies that the farming community want to see, making sure that it's fair and balanced, and sometimes getting out of the way, I stand by it.

Rebekah 27:07

OK, ok, so how will you grow the industry then?

Dan 27:12

Training and skills and getting educators to understand that. Sorry, I jumped in there, didn't I? I was like I'm ready. We need to make sure education is balanced. At the moment it's so focused on academics, it's so focused on A-levels and we do not tell people about different careers.


I know primary schools who do some fantastic work with their young people, where they're kind of like growing in their community gardens and they're getting young people in touch with nature and kind of growing their own food, which again improves their mental health because they're outside, they're doing something practical. It's something I vaguely remember doing at primary school and then I remember it sort of disappeared in secondary and secondary it was all right we're going to sit in a class, we're all facing, we're all looking that way, we're all going to learn this. And that's where I started to become quite disruptive. And this is one of those that actually, if you look at education systems where they provide a more balanced skill kind of development, they actually find that a lot more young people engage with more practical subjects, where they engage more practical professions and they start to want to be more involved in these. I have to say I never saw in any kind of careers-based kind of careers day or any sort of careers presentation.


In the entire time I was in education, either as a student or as a teacher, I never saw anything about farming and it's something that, if I ever go back into education again, the first thing I will do is drag the NFU into a careers day to make sure they're there, and I think that's something that we do need to get into the habit of doing.


We also need to make sure apprenticeships are developed properly. We also need to make sure that young people have the opportunities to access those apprenticeships. We need to sort out the transport so they can get there. We need to make sure that the people who are training well, actually we need to make sure there are more people training, because a lot of colleges at the moment are struggling to find people willing to actually run the apprenticeship programs, and we also need to get that kind of community cohesion kind of aspect to this as well. So actually, throughout your, your, your development as a young person, you're actually getting those opportunities to go and visit farms and to meet farmers and to see what happens, and if you're anything like me, you get to then go and ride on a tractor at some point, because that's actually quite good fun.

Rebekah 29:35

Absolutely! So a major issue in the UK you know, let's make no bones about it is the ageing farming population. You know we need new entrants into agriculture. How could you support that?

Dan 29:49

It really does come back to schools, we really need to make sure that people actually know that it's a career that's available, available, um, it's also, um, we do have a bit of a situation and it's been a big problem in in Worcestershire where, you know, you do need land to kind of be a farmer, and obviously some people are coming to the end of their kind of farming careers and it's usually quite family orientated and you know, rightly so, not everyone wants to go into kind of the family business. And actually trying to kind of promote the idea of new people coming into farming and how that might kind of operate, whether it's through financing schemes that enables people to buy a farm, or whether it's some sort of different type of ownership, whether we kind of move towards more of a kind of community ownership of farming we need to try and think about how we actually move that transition forward, because there is a transaction involved at some point, and I do actually know someone who said she would love to run a farm, she would love to do it. She said, but it's that financing side of it that's always put her off, and so one thing that the government can do is actually provide that support for people who are looking to go into farming. How can we help them set up a business?


How can we actually promote kind of going into getting the right skills, because I think she'd have most of the skills but I'm not entirely sure she would know how to buy a tractor sorry to talk about tracks again, but big fan um and actually kind of give people those kind of career options. Because actually the more I think about it, the more I kind of think that there's actually quite a lot of people out there who I think would quite like the idea of running an orchard or um, who would actually like to get into food production, but I don't think they'd necessarily know how to. So definitely get them early so we can get them kind of trained up, but also find kind of where we have people who are kind of slightly later age, more around my age, giving them the options on how they can then finance that and actually help and support and do that.

Rebekah 31:48

Absolutely. In places like the Netherlands they, you know, make a big deal of their farming industry. You know they're proud of their farmers. It seems quite an attractive industry to go into. How could your party make the industry more attractive to job seekers?

Dan 32:05

I always say it's all about marketing, isn't it? And it's something that I always kind of make. The point is that some, some job areas I genuinely think to kind of TV has made them look far more exciting than they are. And I used to say it is back to CSI. It totally is, and I think it's one of the big problems is if, actually, if you go and talk to anyone who works in forensic science, they will tell you it's pretty menial and some of the things they have to do are incredibly dull. Yet you watch CSI and it looks so exciting.


I'm not suggesting we need a CSI version for farming, but I think actually, kind of giving people that kind of opportunity to get involved is the way forward. And actually I was recently. I was in um I think it's Henley Swan actually, if I remember right and it was lambing season and it's really fun because the one of the farms is right in the village so you can see all the kids going over to kind of see what's happening. And then, of course, all the adults are going over to see what's happening. I'm not going to lie, I went over to see what's happening. It's really exciting. You're engaging with your farming community and actually having your farmers in your community makes it a lot more kind of accessible.


And I recently went on a, it was actually a bit of an excursion with a group of councillors who are from all over the country. I think I was the only Liberal Democrat that was from a rural area, which is very rare. It just happened to be this kind of session and, funnily enough, they said the week before they'd gone out into this farm and everyone from the rural community, so they were all over it, absolutely loving it and it. And then, of course, I was the only one kind of like fully in there. You know, I was kitted up, I was going for it, I was having a great time mucking out, I was enjoying myself.


All the others were like oh, this is, I'm not used to this, and I have said that most people do live in urban areas. So we do need to make sure that people in urban areas have the opportunity to get into our rural landscapes and actually experience what it's like. Because by the end of it, several of them were like you know what, actually, if I had, if I had my time again, I think I'd actually really like doing this as a job and it was it's all you could see, a couple of actually a bit disappointed. It was like almost like. Actually, I really have loved this yeah, absolutely so.

Rebekah 34:18

What a great discussion, dan. It was so good to have your input today. Um, you know you've given the industry a better idea of where the lib dems stand on all of these farming issues, which is great. Thank you everyone for watching or listening, and thank you again, Dan. It's been great, so keep following. We've got some great new discussions coming up. We've got Labour and the Conservatives in the next few weeks. If you've got an interesting topic in agriculture that you'd like to talk about, please get in touch with me at www.agriRS.comThank you so much for joining us and goodbye.


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