CANDIDATES standing in the upcoming general election in a Cumbrian constituency will have the chance to outline their vision for nature-friendly farming at an upcoming online event.

The Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) is organising a hustings where candidates hoping to represent Penrith and Solway in the House of Commons will speak about agriculture and the environment and be asked questions from an audience of farmers and members of the public.

Cumbrian farmer and NFFN member Mark Lee will host the event and the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates for the seat, which has been created following the latest redrawing of constituency boundaries, have all been invited.

They will be given the opportunity to speak to constituents about what they will do to ensure food production and nature can both thrive in the coming years. The audience will then have the chance to put their questions to the candidates about what the future of farming holds.

Mary White, the NFFN’s MP-farmer engagement officer, said: “We have created this hustings to put nature-friendly farming on the local agenda in Penrith and Solway, a key constituency where upland farming is important for the economy and jobs.

“It’s a chance to bring farmers in the area together to quiz those who would be their elected representative while also providing a platform for our members there to speak up and bring the most important issues they are facing to the table.

“For the farming sector and the rural vote, the stakes are very high in this upcoming general election. With farming at a crunch point and farmers facing a whole host of issues from low prices and rising costs to supply chain problems to the effects of the climate crisis, it is absolutely vital that whichever candidate in Penrith and Solway is elected to the House of Commons is on the side of farmers.”

The Penrith and Solway event takes place on Thursday, April 18 on zoom. With agriculture going through a major transition in England as the Government rolls out its Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme which financially supports farmers for taking a range of environmentally-friendly actions on their land, the NFFN says it is more important than ever that politicians hoping to be voted into Parliament are committed to backing the sector in the right way.