A LIB DEM proposal for A Fair Deal For Farmers has been approved by members of Cumberland Council.

It was proposed by councillor Chris Wills (Upperby, Lib Dems) and seconded by councillor Roger Dobson (Corby and Hayton, Lib Dems) at a meeting of the full council at the Civic Centre in Carlisle on Tuesday (April 30).

The pair asked that the council noted the significant contribution faming makes to Cumberland’s economy and recognised that farming is rooted in Cumbria’s history.

In addition, that farming in Cumberland directly employs more than 6,000 people on either a full time or part time basis, with many jobs supported through the wider supply chain and community.

The motion states that the current global food system is failing to serve the interests and needs of citizens, food producers, the environment and our climate. It adds: "Global warming represents an urgent threat to the sustainability of UK agriculture and food security.

"The UK's food security needs to be strengthened, with more sustainable domestic produce and reliable and trusted trading partners abroad."

They proposed a number of resolutions including:

  • to continue to support Cumberland’s local farmers and food producers;
  • to continue to support local farmers by developing policies which are sympathetic to diversification opportunities and to promote local produce during the Back British Farming campaign week in September;
  • to ensure that, wherever possible, the council’s procurement of food is sourced from local suppliers;
  • to continue to work with the Food Cumberland Partnership, and implement the Cumberland Food Governance Strategy, so that local food is affordable to all, by reducing the food miles on our plate and supporting our local producers;
  • to continue, as the responsible Authority for Public Rights of Way, to promote the Countryside Code to promote, considerate, sustainable and safe enjoyment of our countryside;
  • to call on our four MPs to support the Get Fair About Farming campaign which demands regulations ensuring supermarkets stick to fair buying agreements;
  • and to commit to working with utility companies, key agencies and the farming communities themselves to significantly reduce agricultural run-off into our lake, rivers and streams.

Cllr Wills said: "It's about the value we place on our farms and the wider community."

Councillor Helen Davison (Belah, Green Party) proposed an amendment that they change the wording from "global warming" to "global heating" to give the language some urgency to better reflect the climate crisis.

In addition, she proposed a second amendment that a council group should investigate the issues in more detail.

However, when the amendments were put to the vote 35 councillors were against the changes, while only two voted in favour and there was one abstention, so it was not supported.

Councillor Lisa Brown (Currock, Labour) said that the council was already working on a number of their proposals including better access to food.

Councillor Andy Pratt (Millom Without, Conservative) said he was in favour of the motion that the "council gave our farmers in Cumberland" support.

And councillor Andrew Semple (Cockermouth South, Labour) said he had married a farmer's daughter and added: "Dairy farming is a hugely difficult job and a lonely job. We should do all we can to support farming."

Councillor David Moore (Gosforth, Conservative) said: "I was delighted when I looked through the papers and I saw the motion supporting farmers."

When the motion was put to the vote it was unanimously supported and it was carried.