On the 5th of November, Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, who is also Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Agri-Innovation and Climate Adaption within Defra, visited Limagrain UK’s wheat breeding centre at Woolpit, Suffolk.
Limagrain specialises in both agricultural and horticultural seeds, as well as cereal products. As the fourth largest breeder and seeds marketing company in the world, it employs 9,000 people with a turnover of more than €1.98 billion annually.
Mrs Churchill received a presentation from Jonathan Tann, Limagrain business area director for northwest Europe on the company from an international and UK perspective. This was followed by a tour of the research and development facility by Ed Flatman, Limagrain’s head of European wheat research, along with Phillip Tailby, senior wheat breeder.
One of the most important issues facing plant breeders is the pressure and rules regarding the importing and exporting of seed. Mrs Churchill was said to be aware of the latest situation and appreciated that there were still problems to resolve.
Other hot issues surrounding plant breeding, including gene editing and agri-food innovation, were also discussed along with the challenge of energising young people to engage with the opportunities within agriculture.
Mrs Churchill was joined by Oli Wilson, Defra, and Lesley Canham, constituency office manager.