A highlight of my week was spending Friday at the Royal Cornwall Show. It was great to catch up with some of our excellent local food producers and discuss our long-term vision for the future of British farming, working with industry to develop a 25 year plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food.
I was pleased to hear that our plans to enable farmers to smooth their profits for tax purposes over five years, up from the current two years, to help counter the impact of volatility in the prices farmers receive for their crops, meat and milk will help. So will our plans to liberate farmers from red tape by coordinating all visits through a single Farm Inspection Taskforce, which will involve farmers themselves and use data from existing industry schemes, such as Red Tractor.
At the request of Cornwall Young Farmers, I joined a panel of inspiring women in agriculture and highlighted our plans to treble the number of apprenticeships in food, farming and agri-tech, as part of our plan to secure three million more apprenticeships. Farming and food production is changing fast, opening up new opportunities but we all agreed more work needs to be done in explaining these opportunities. Alongside this, continuing to promote maths and science qualifications in primary and secondary schools so more young people can benefit from not only the enjoyment of studying these subjects but the choices they will open up for them.
Over the next few months, I will be working hard with our inspiring local food producers and even more inspiring Ruth Huxley from Cornwall Food and Drink to make sure we are making the most of the new Great British Food Unit that will help trademark and promote local foods around the world and back British food at home, by guaranteeing that all central government departments purchase food to British standards of production by the end of the Parliament. We will also help consumers to buy British by pushing for country of origin labelling in Europe, particularly for dairy products.