IN recent years Britain's farming community has had to comply with endless government dictates without having the chance to respond with their own point of view.
Miliband - reaches out to farmers with online Q&A
That is set to change later today when Rural Affairs Secretary David Miliband - just days after his Royal Show speech in which he stated that farming does matter - goes online to answer questions put to him by farmers.
The move appears a major but welcome break with the past and Mr Miliband's predecessors who never really engaged with the agricultural community.
The online question and answer session will take place between 12.15pm and 1pm, and will focus mainly on the issues that Mr Miliband raised in his earlier speech.
"The idea of this space is to discuss the future of farming, a subject which I spoke about at the Royal Show this week," said the Secretary of State.
"I spoke about the need to balance your economic prosperity with the concept of One Planet Living - living within the limits of our finite natural resources - and would like to hear your views about what this means for you.
"What do farmers need to do to re-connect with the public and look after the environment? Let me hear what you have to say on these issues and anything related to them."
I spoke about the need to balance your economic prosperity with the concept of One Planet Living - living within the limits of our finite natural resources - and would like to hear your views about what this means for you
David Miliband - Rural Affairs Secretary
The Secretary said that farming faces challenges in three specific areas: Building a profitable, competitive and innovative industry; to be more proactive in its role as a countryside guardian and promoting animal welfare and environmental sustainability; to fulfil its role in securing the sustainability of rural communities.
You can submit questions and comments any time from now on, and Mr Miliband will be responding live to any questions submitted on Thursday lunchtime.
Mr Miliband added: "I hope we can have a good debate about the way farming in this country should develop over the next 10 years. I look forward to hearing from you."
Questions can be submitted using a form on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/farm/contact/dialogue
The minister's speech is also available to read on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/ministers/speeches/david-miliband/