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Editor points the way forward

The treatment of farmers and the agriculture industry by the Government has been compared by a leading editor with the treatment meted out to the coal industry.

Barrie Williams, of the Western Morning News, has witnessed first-hand a decline in both industries.

He was speaking at an awards ceremony at Bicton College of Agriculture where 50 students received certificates for passing courses in agriculture and agricultural engineering.

He told his audience: “I moved to the Westcountry from Nottingham five years ago and what I knew about farming could have been written on half the back of a postage stamp.

“But what I do know about, after many years plying my trade as a journalist, is justice.

“It took only a matter of weeks down here for me to realise that the agriculture industry in general – and the small-to-medium-sized livestock farming businesses which predominate in the Westcountry in particular – were being treated diabolically by the Government at a time when there were so many problems beyond their own control afflicting farmers, and when what they needed was help, support and understanding.”

He said he had witnessed the demise of coal mining in Nottinghamshire due to a Tory Government and that he and the Western Morning News were not prepared to let Labour do the same to agriculture in the Westcountry.

He paid tribute to the young students receiving their awards and told them they were the ones responsible for change in the industry and the future of British rural life.

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