UPDATE: 12th October
Farmers work all year round to ensure our nation’s food security, are crucial in supporting strong local economies and have been instrumental in preserving and protecting our environment.
Today, on #NationalFarmersDay, I met with a dairy farmer in Earl Shilton and the Managing Director of Long Clawson Dairy to discuss everything from my campaign for a 'Buy British' section on online stores to sustainability and export opportunities - and even got to try a variety of their excellent cheeses!
Thank you to all the farmers in our area and across the nation who work from dawn till dusk to help put food on our plates.
UPDATE: 27th September
Pleased to share that the NFU's online petition in support of the 'Buy British' button has received over 25,000 signatures!
You can support by adding your name here: Buy British button (nfuonline.com)
UPDATE: 13th September
On Back British Farming Day I'm absolutely delighted to share the news that the Government has endorsed my campaign for a 'Buy British' section online and is calling for industry-led action!
I hope that the supermarkets will respond to the widespread demand for this simple change!
You can read more here: Government backs Bosworth MP’s call for ‘Buy British’ section online | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 22nd August
Farmers say the best way to support them is simple: buy British produce.
So I have written an open letter, signed by 120 cross-Party MPs, calling on supermarkets with online stores to introduce a simple 'Buy British' tab online.
Buying British is good for local food producers, good for the environment and good for consumer choice. It’s a win all round!
Click here to find out more: Dr Luke Evans MP calls on supermarkets to collate British produce online | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 30th March
I believe passionately in supporting and championing the many excellent farmers and producers across our proud rural community. Jeremy Clarkson has shone a light on the issues facing farmers and brought the public’s attention to some of the difficulties.
“Mental health pressures are something I've discussed with farmers across our area and which was raised in a survey I carried out last year, so I welcomed the chance to raise this important issue.
You can watch my question and the Farming Minister's response here: Dr Luke Evans MP raises mental wellbeing support for farmers | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 03 January
Last year I was delighted to have selected Greg Parkes, Chairman for Leicestershire and Rutland Young Farmers Club in 2021/22, to be the NFU's Farming Hero for Bosworth!
Greg has been an integral part of the Young Farmers Club in Leicestershire and Rutland for many years, helping to keep the club a welcoming and informative space for current and future members.
Read more about Greg's work for our area here: Dr Luke awards local farmer as Bosworth's Farming Hero | Dr Luke Evans MP
UPDATE: 7th December
I welcome the response from Morrisons:
"At Morrisons we have a strong track record of backing British - responding to and encouraging the demand for great quality, homegrown food. We have British produce options on sale in our stores wherever possible, from apples and pears to salad, vegetables and potatoes, all clearly marked with the Union Jack flag.
"As well as being a major supermarket, we are also the largest fresh food manufacturer in the country. Our food manufacturing sites supply our stores with many fresh products and this unique model allows us to support British growers, farmers and fishermen by buying the whole crop, herd or catch. We are also the only UK retailer with our own livestock buyers. We source animals, produce and whole crops directly from over 2,700 British farmers. These relationships give our buying teams a good understanding of the current challenges faced by farmers and growers.
"Customers continue to tell us that they value local products and want to support their local communities and economies. In 2017, we launched our Nation’s Local Foodmakers programme to search for the next generation of local food makers and producers and support our existing local suppliers across England, Scotland and Wales. This programme has launched over 1,500 new local products from more than 250 local foodmakers, and in the past year over seven million of their products have been purchased by our customers. As part of the programme, we provide mentoring and support to help small suppliers work with a retailer for the first time. This includes simplified agreements, improved payment terms and the option to deliver their products direct to local stores.
"We unfortunately do not work with any farmers, growers or food and drink producers in Bosworth at the current time. Farmers and growers in your constituency wishing to discuss opportunities for their products should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Foodmakers should also refer to the opportunities through our Local Foodmakers programme here my.morrisons.com/foodmakers."
UPDATE: 5th December
I am grateful to ASDA for their response:
"At Asda we remain committed to investing in UK supply chain resiliency in line with our owners’ pledge to inject more than £1 billion into our business and supply chain by 2023. During the Covid pandemic, we kept cash flowing for UK small suppliers, paying them immediately on receipt of their invoices.
"More recently, we have worked collaboratively with our suppliers to support them through significant supply chain disruption. Deploying our own drivers and vehicles to help suppliers facing driver shortages, temporarily delisting low-volume lines to enable suppliers with labour shortages to focus on their most important products and extending our lead times for imported goods, to allow suppliers to plan further ahead.
"In 2022, 100% of our own-brand dairy (milk, cream, butter and cheddar), eggs, potatoes and primary chicken came from British farms. At Asda we are committed to sourcing in ways that respect and restore nature. We have farmer groups across three of our proteins: dairy, beef, lamb. Holding collaborative sessions with our suppliers to share best practice, including animal health and welfare, carbon foot printing, business needs and opportunities.
"While we do not currently have any suppliers in Bosworth, we are always looking to hear from small and medium enterprise. Any prospective suppliers should visit: www.asdasupplier.com for more information."
UPDATE: 30th November
Here's the response from Co-Op:
"At the Co-op, we have a proud history of supporting British farmers. Last year we celebrated the 10- year anniversary of the Co-Op Dairy Group. The dairy group provides a fair price to our farmers and the opportunity for two-way engagement.
"Our long-standing commitment to British sourcing goes beyond milk. All our own brand, fresh cream, cheddar cheese and block butter are all British, as well as our free-range shell eggs. In 2018 we committed to sourcing 100% British beef, chicken, pork, and lamb across our fresh and frozen ranges which has helped us to build strong producer relationships and to offer everyone food that is produced to high animal welfare standards, regardless of their budget.
"We have also taken steps to ensure that we are sourcing as much fresh British produce as possible, when it is in season, through the partnerships we have developed with our produce and horticulture suppliers.
"Our long-standing commitment to British sourcing helps us to build strong relationships with producers, including through our farming groups and farming pioneers to address shared challenges, such as climate change and sustainable sourcing, alongside maintaining exceptional animal welfare standards.
"We are of course aware of the particularly acute challenges that farmers are facing across the country. Against the backdrop of rapid inflation, we have invested in British sourcing, including £19 million in our pork supply chain and £5.6 million to our egg suppliers. These multi-million-pound investments demonstrate our commitment to British sourcing and to British farmers. Only by working together with our suppliers and farmers can we build an efficient, effective, and sustainable British farming industry for now and the future."
UPDATE: 29th November
Welcome news that Lidl source from producers in Bosworth! See the full response here:
"At Lidl GB, we are proud to continuously expand our offer of British products by building long lasting relationships with suppliers and enabling local businesses to grow with us.
"Championing British produce is a priority for us and we are proud to work closely with the British farming industry to help feed the nation. Through collaboration with trusted suppliers and younger farmers across the country, we’re investing £15 billion into British food and farming by 2025. We also signed longer-term contracts with our fruit and vegetable producers to ensure they can continue to thrive. We endorse the NFU’s Back British Farming Charter and Fruit and Veg Pledge.
"Some of our British produce is sourced from producers in Bosworth as well as Leicestershire, including beef, lamb, pork and dairy. These products are available in our stores across GB."
UPDATE: 16th November
I thank Aldi CEO Giles Hurley for the swift response:
"As part of Aldi’s commitment to championing Great British quality, many of our products are sourced from the UK. We are proud to stock British meat, milk and eggs, and last year around 30% of our fresh produce was sourced from UK Red Tractor assured farms - increasing to over 40% for the month of September.
"Our commitment to British farmers is why we signed up to the National Farmers Union (NFU) Back British Farming Charter. We want to meet our customers’ demands for British produce, and by supporting British farming we can become a more food secure nation. In return Aldi, as a retailer, can offer our customers fresh British produce of the highest quality, every day, at the best price.
"One of our local carrot and parsnip suppliers is based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, just a short drive down the A5 from our head office in Atherstone. We value long term relationships with our suppliers and the Bartlett family have now supplied Aldi for over 10 years.
"While we don't presently work directly with food producers in Bosworth, we would be pleased to hear from farmers in your constituency who are interested in supplying Aldi. Details on how to become an Aldi supplier can be found online at www.aldi.co.uk/suppliers."
UPDATE: 11th November
I'm pleased to share with you the response from Tesco:
"As British agriculture’s largest customer, we know the importance and value of supporting farmers across the country. We work hard to build long term strategic relationships with British farmers, and we’ve set up eight Tesco Sustainable Farming Groups including groups on beef, dairy, lamb, and potatoes, to provide a forum to work with our farmers on sustainable production, animal welfare standards, best practice and productivity.
"We work with a number of farmers in your area and across Leicestershire, to provide high quality, locally sourced meat and dairy products for our customers. This includes two farmers from our Tesco Sustainable Lamb Group, and two from our Tesco Sustainable Beef Group. Over ten of our Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group farmers are also based in the area, and to the East of your constituency, all of our own label Stilton cheese is produced in Long Clawson, with the milk produced from farms in the immediate vicinity. We are always keen to promote homegrown products, and our ‘Best of British’ Union Jack is featured on our packaging to signpost customers to domestically-produced food.
"While we continue to work with our suppliers to produce great locally-sourced products, and promoting buying local to our customers, we know the farming industry is facing into some of the most challenging conditions in a generation, with input costs such as feed and labour increasing on a weekly basis. Over the last decade we have put in place ways of working that protect our supply chains while maintaining high quality and standards."
Backing Bosworth's Farmers
Bosworth is a beautiful rural area and, importantly, around 85% of the land in our patch is agricultural. We have a big farming community and many passionate producers who work tirelessly to support their businesses and families.
When I’ve spoken with farmers in Bosworth their principal message regarding the best thing we can do to support them is to buy seasonal British and local produce.
I know people in my area do the best they can to support our farmers, markets are held regularly on the weekends and are well attended. But there are many who prefer and sometimes require the convenience of supermarkets, which is why I’ve written to the Chief Executives of supermarkets with stores in Bosworth to find out how they’re supporting local farmers.
You can read the letter here: