A Shropshire farming leader has said the National Farmers’ Union will drive county farming forward as the union looks for the right Brexit deal for farmers and growers.

NFU Shropshire chairman Andy Pillow made his comments when he was joined by more than 80 union members, young farmers and industry representatives at the Shropshire NFU annual open meeting near Shrewsbury.

Mr Pillow vowed that with Brexit on the horizon the NFU was best placed to make the case for the industry to Government and he urged members to back the union and make their voices heard.

“The NFU will continue to drive the industry forward and make the case for Shropshire agriculture and horticulture on the many issues we face and with Brexit looming,” he said.

“British farming provides the raw ingredients that feed the nation, a sector worth £109 billion and employing 3.8 million people.

“If we want this contribution to continue the farming sector needs to be competitive, profitable and productive – we need to see the right Brexit deal in place for British food and farming.

“We were interested to hear the latest thinking from the NFU deputy president on the development of a Domestic Agricultural Policy (DAP) and what the union is advocating in terms of managing volatility, enhancing productivity and help us deliver for the environment.

“I know members’ thoughts will continue to be fed in as the NFU continues its lobbying and campaigning on our behalf and we must see Brexit as an opportunity.

“We must look for the opportunities, we must be positive and use it to help create a more resilient and robust agriculture going forward.

“The NFU is up for that challenge.”

His words were echoed by Oswestry branch chairman and Llangedwyn farmer Sarah Suckley-Jones who said now was the time for all farmers to get behind the union.

She said it was only after taking up the branch chairman’s position that she was able to appreciate the many issues the NFU was working on and how much farmers got from their membership.

“I believe that with Brexit coming up and the negotiations that without the NFU we would be slaughtered and wouldn’t have a leg to stand on for the future,” she said.

Oswestry farmer and NFU regional board chairman Malcolm Roberts was also elected unopposed to represent county farmers on the union’s council.

Other items discussed during the evening included sector commodity board reports and there was a presentation to the best county group.

Telford-based group secretaries Neil Wagstaff and Kate Hamilton, East Shropshire NFU, were awarded the county award based on performance, membership growth and continued service to county farmers and growers.