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EU referendum discussion forum in Yorkshire Dales

As the countdown begins towards the EU referendum, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s commitment to sparking discussion around the possible effects on agriculture will come under the spotlight at an open meeting next month.

The complex questions and potential outcomes of both leaving and remaining within the EU will be examined as the country draws closer to the referendum date.

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

Nigel Pulling Chief Executive 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 underpin the evening. It was produced by the Farmer-Scientist Network led by Wyn Grant, Professor of Politics at the University of Warwick who has more than 40 years’ experience advising on agricultural matters at national and international levels. Significant contributions were made by experts from the University of Leeds, Newcastle Law School, University of Reading and the University of the West of England. The Network was set up by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society to improve links and disseminate 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. And 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.

Speakers are Professor Grant, Michael Cardwell, Professor of Law at the University of Leeds, Bill Cowling who farms at Harrogate and until last year was the Honorary Show Director of the Great Yorkshire Show and Malcolm Fewster a Nuffield scholar and dairy farmer from Gomersal, West Yorkshire.

It follows a similar evening earlier this month for the Society’s Future Farmers group which was attended by more than 200 people and was held at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.

The evening is free, with a hot and cold buffet available at £7.50 per head.

Guests are welcome from 1700hrs with the talks beginning at 1800hrs. There is ample free parking. For more information or to reserve a place contact or call 01969 621146.

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