The Lincolnshire Forum for Agriculture and Horticulture (LFAH) is a partnership between the public sector and the farming, horticulture, food and drink sectors in the Greater Lincolnshire area. The Forum meets regularly to agree on how to deliver plans and projects that address issues of current importance or that are likely to affect the industry in the future. It takes action with the aim of influencing policy and decision makers for the protection and benefit of the industry in Lincolnshire. It encourages and supports projects of other organisations that help Lincolnshire food and farming businesses in a variety of ways. The chairman of the Forum champions Lincolnshire’s food and farming interests on the board of the newly formed Greater Lincolnshire Economic Partnership (the ‘LEP’).
Agriculture, horticulture and the Food sector is a key and vital industry in Lincolnshire with an estimated value to the County of approximately £1050 million in 2006 with approximately 32,000 people directly employed. A succession of problems in recent years has badly affected the industry and countryside, resulting in depressed incomes and impacting on rural tourism and business success.
The Forum believes that agriculture and Land management in Lincolnshire should be viewed as economic assets and that the food and farming industries should encouraged to grasp the opportunity to make a positive contribution to creating a truly sustainable Lincolnshire economy.
The Forum believes that strategic economic planning should acknowledge and reflect those historic, natural and competitive advantages that make Lincolnshire uniquely competitive as a producer of food and a deliver of economic well being. We understand economic ‘well being’ to be a measure that incorporates significant and environmental and social values critical to the creation of a sustainable rural economy. The Forum passionately believes that Lincolnshire’s economic strategy must give due weight and consideration to agriculture and the many added value businesses that co-exist or depend upon the continued supply of actively managed land, such as tourism, food processing and bio-mass production. It is worth noting that the value of Lincolnshire’s agricultural output is at least 3 times greater than Nottinghamshire’s, Leicestershire’s or Derbyshire’s and is worth more than the combined agricultural outputs of all our partners in the East Midlands Region.
There has been a significant change in the global position in terms of productive land, water and food supplies and the adoption of Climate Change strategies. The supply of productive agricultural land is finite. As the value of agricultural land rises, so does the value of Lincolnshire both to the domestic and global economies. Rising land values should also enable land-based businesses to invest and diversify.