Flying visit from farming minister

Farming minister Jane Kennedy has completed a whirlwind tour of chicken farms and production facilities in Lincolnshire, in a trip organised by the British Poultry Council (BPC).

Kennedy paid a visit to a poultry farm run by Hook 2 Sisters near Lincoln and an organic farm managed by Harry Irwin in the morning, while the afternoon was spent at a 2 Sisters processing facility in Scunthorpe.

"I've really enjoyed the experience. I've had a look at the whole poultry food chain from farm to fork. It has been extremely interesting and has given me the chance to understand some of the business pressures on the different sectors, especially the organic farmers," she said.

Kennedy emphasised that she did not want people to think that EU chicken welfare proposals were a way to do away with voluntary assurance schemes and added that the schemes are "a good thing".

"What we do have now are new European rules, which for the first time provide a legal baseline for all producers - including those who don't participate in any voluntary assurance schemes," she said.

"And that means that other European producers will have to meet that legal baseline as well, meaning that our producers will have a more level playing field in the UK and European markets."

BPC chief executive Peter Bradnock said that the minister also pledged to work with producers and processors to address their core concerns.

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