Farmers and agricultural workers across west Cornwall are being urged to have their say on the future of the industry.

MP Derek Thomas in encouraging everyone employed in that sector to make their views known as part of a Defra consultation as the country prepares to leave the EU.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has said that “leaving the European Union provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform agriculture” and has launched a consultation on The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment, saying he wants a “more rational, and sensitive agriculture policy which promotes environmental enhancement, supports profitable food production and contributes to a healthier society.”

Mr Thomas hosted a meeting in St Buryan last week attended by several dozen farmers, briefing them on the Government proposals and listening to issues that the farmers themselves raised.

He said: “Here in West Cornwall, the agricultural sector is responsible for some of the finest food produced anywhere in the UK and farmers have worked wonders to preserve and enhance our stunning environment.

“However, they have managed this despite rather than because of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which, for more than 40 years, has decided how we farm our land, the food we grow and the state of the natural environment.

“This has resulted in some glaring injustices - for example, CAP has skewed its subsidy system heavily in favour of the largest landholdings, so disadvantaging the farmer in west Cornwall, where most of the farms are comparatively small.

“The Government, in The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment, has some very sensible and exciting ideas on how our agricultural land should be used in the future but it needs to know more about the unique challenges faced by farmers in the far west of Cornwall or on Scilly.

“This consultation provides a one-off opportunity for people involved in West Cornwall’s agri-sector to have a real input into how the industry should develop after we leave the EU and I would encourage anyone involved to have their say.”

To take part in the Defra consultation visit before the deadline of May 8.