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Warwick academic to speak at public debate on the implications of Brexit and agriculture

As the countdown begins towards the EU referendum, the University of Warwick’s Professor Wyn Grant is to speak at a public debate on the possible effects on Britain’s agriculture.

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society has invited a panel of experts to explore the complex questions and potential outcomes of both leaving and remaining within the EU.

A report commissioned by the society entitled “Brexit and Agriculture” will underpin the evening. It was produced by the Farmer-Scientist Network led by Professor Grant from the University’s department of politics and international studies (PAIS), who has more than 40 years’ experience advising on agricultural matters at national and international levels.

He said: “Most farmers' concerns centre on the effect any decision would have on EU farm subsidies. Against a backdrop of falling farm incomes, subsidies can make the difference of running at a profit or a loss. Without the payments the future of many farm businesses would be in jeopardy.”

Nigel Pulling chief executive of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society said: “The referendum is at the top of the Government’s agenda but the lack of information about the issues means most people are struggling to make an informed decision. Our aim is not to try to influence how people vote, but to inform debate and stimulate discussion.”

The speakers will be followed by a question and answer session at the event being held in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

The event will be chaired by Richard Wells, a former North of England correspondent for BBC radio and television news. He said: “We have heard so much in recent weeks about concerns over mass migration, child benefits and the importance of national sovereignty but nothing about agriculture. So it is an honour to be part of a process which will help informed debate. And it couldn’t be happening in a better place than Wensleydale. It has been my home for almost 30 years and the forthcoming referendum will be a crucial time for so many people in North Yorkshire and the North East who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.”

Other speakers include Professor Michael Cardwell, Bill Cowling who farms at Harrogate and until last year was the Honorary Show Director of the Great Yorkshire Show and Malcolm Fewster a Nuffield scholar and dairy farmer from Gomersal, West Yorkshire.

It follows a similar evening earlier this month for the society’s Future Farmers group which was attended by more than 200 people and was held at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.

23 February 2016

Event information

The free event is at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn on Thursday 10 March. The evening is free, with a hot and cold buffet available at £7.50 per head. Guests are welcome from 1700hrs with the talks beginning at 18.00hrs. There is ample free parking. For more information or to reserve a place contact or call 01969 621146.

Notes to Editors

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society was established in 1837 with the primary purpose of holding an agricultural show and for the furtherance and support of farming in the region. This ethos continues today, through its flagship events, the Great Yorkshire Show (Tues 12 – Thurs 14 July 2016) and Countryside Live, (Sat 22 and Sun 23 October 2016). Year round it has an active programme of events and activities supporting the farming and rural communities, including Fodder, the award winning shop and café, the Yorkshire Rural Support Network, Future Farmers of Yorkshire, Farmer-Scientist Network and the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network. The Society is based at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, N. Yorkshire. For more information see

Farmer-Scientist Network

Hosted by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the Network brings together senior and successful scientists and farmers to advise UK policy makers on topics including ways in which new science and technology can underpin innovation in agriculture and problem solve. See



For further details please contact Nicola Jones, Communications Manager, University of Warwick 07920531221 or