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Gove signs Agrespect pledge to push for better support of LGBTQ+ in rural areas

The body aims to start positive conversations about inclusivity in agriculture.

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Gove signs Agrespect pledge to push for better support of LGBTQ+ in rural areas

A decision by Secretary of State Michael Gove to sign a pledge supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) farm workers has been welcomed as ‘a step in the right direction’.

 

Mr Gove, alongside NFU president Minette Batters and CLA director general Helen Woolley, added their names to the Agrespect pledge which supports LGBTQ+ people living and working in rural communities.

 

The three joined the list of more than 20 other companies and partners including Harper Adams University, Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf) and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs.

 

The body aims to start positive conversations about inclusivity in agriculture.


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Keith Ineson, who heads up the Gay Farmer Helpline, which is working to help LGBTQ+ farmers in isolated communities struggling with their sexuality, said: “It is a step in the right direction.

 

“We will get there.”

 

Speaking at the event last week (September 25), Mr Gove said: “Farming today is an innovative and progressive industry that benefits greatly from being open to all, regardless of their background, gender, religion and sexuality.

 

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“I hope that through the signing of this pledge we can further demonstrate our ongoing support for LGBTQ+ people in our rural communities.”

Ms Batters echoed his comments with suggestions the industry must challenge itself ‘to be an inclusive industry which welcomes new entrants of every type from any background’.

 

Lincolnshire flower grower Matt Naylor, one of the farmers behind Agrespect, added: “Agriculture and the rural economy are going through a period of massive change and the countryside needs to retain and attract the brightest and best people.

 

“We need to welcome everyone.”

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