FARMING scholars from Herefordshire had a unique opportunity to share their thoughts on the UK’s relationship with the EU when they took part in a discussion with the NFU's President.

Meurig Raymond attended a debate at the Green Man in Fownhope, near Hereford, which occurred on the same day as the UK government outlined its deal on EU reforms.

In his presentation, Mr Raymond often based his comments on sections in the NFU booklet EU Referendum - UK farming’s Relationship with the EU, and stressed the NFU’s objectives are to make farmers aware of the pros and cons of being in or out.

"In 2014, for example, 38 per cent of lamb produced in the UK, and £12,619 billion value of gross domestic product was exported to the EU. The big question is…if we were to leave the EU would this trade stop?” he asked.

"Currently, we pay £153 per person to have the privilege of a free market and a voice in the EU. However, countries such as Norway, who are not in the EU, contribute the equivalent of £106 per person for the availability to trade freely with no influence."

Availability of labour was also discussed, as was the Common Agricultural Policy.

Mr Raymond pointed out that previous Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, was fighting a strong battle to move out of the EU, saying the UK is sustainable on its own, and that the farming industry would be stronger in the long run by exiting the EU, but that view is strongly challenged by many others.

He told those listening that latest polls show 30 per cent of the general public wants to move out of the EU, with 30 per cent wanting to stay in at any cost and the rest not yet having made up their minds.