Lincolnshire

Roger Helmer: Why glyphosate is important to Lincolnshire farmers and growers

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting a farm at Donington in Lincolnshire and met farmers and growers, who are concerned about a very real threat to their livelihoods.

I was there to help the NFU East Midlands’ campaign for the reauthorisation of glyphosate and support their calls not to ban this vital herbicide.

The NFU is actively campaigning on the issue – fearing it could be banned by EU chiefs.

It said the active substance glyphosate, used in gardens up and down the country as Round-Up, should be re-authorised by the European Commission by the end of the year.

Germany has been made responsible for the evaluation and has recommended full re-authorisation for 15 years.

This should have happened by the end of June 2016, but the whole process has become politicised and stalled.

The NFU said there is every suggestion that this may happen again as we get closer to the end of 2017.

I saw and handled ‘black grass’. If the EU bans glyphosate it will do huge damage to agriculture, here in Lincolnshire.

Ban it and we will end up importing vegetables and grain and undermining UK agriculture in the process.

In fact, we will probably end up importing vegetables which will have had glyphosate used anyway.

The growers and farmers I met explained how crucial it was to their business – it simply is a weed control method they must have.

Its loss would bring into question the viability of wheat production on black grass infested land with very few alternatives, allowing certain fast breeding weeds to spread unchecked.

I would urge farmers to join the NFU campaign by writing to their MPs and MEPs and stressing the importance of the substance.

People can visit the NFU website and pledge their support at http://www.nfuonline.com/cross-sector/science-and-technology/crop-protection/crop-protection-must-read/glyphosate-we-need-your-support/

One further point this month, if I may.

The recent thefts at Lincoln Bomber Command Memorial are despicable – how heart-breaking and extremely frustrating for the team behind the memorial, who are working tirelessly to open the site for the public.

As for the vandals and thieves – what a complete lack of respect these people have.

One wonders what’s going through their minds – if anything at all!