Cornwall Council pledges to support farmers by promoting locally-sourced meat and dairy

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Farmers in Cornwall have welcomed the council's commitment to promote locally-sourced meat and dairy, despite a growing trend for people to follow a plant-based diet.

Environmental campaigners argue that those in power should set an example by cutting out animal products - but the Cornish farming community insists it is vital to the county's rural economy.

Farmer Adrian Parsons, who is also a Liberal Democrat councillor, told ITV News West Country: "We are entering a period of great change.

"Confidence has been a little bit low within the sector. So this has just added a little lift, we hope that the council will do the right thing and purchase local sustainable produce from farmers here in Cornwall.

Adrian Parsons says he wants consumers to have the choice of animal products or plant-based food. Credit: ITV News

"It's not for me or for Cornwall Council to tell you whether you should be living by a meat or a meat-free diet.

"But what I do feel is important is that the choices are there for the consumer, and that we buy and supply sustainable goods."

Farmers say they are a vital part of Cornwall's economy. Credit: ITV News

Conservative councillor Nick Craker said: "There are some practical measures the council can take, such as working with our schools to make sure they're supplying local meat, dairy and plant-based products in care homes and council offices.

"The council is also the local planning authority, and I'd like to think that when planning policies are being reviewed, there is regard for local farmers.

"I just want to make sure that our council is always being sympathetic to our local farmers and ensuring that they're doing everything they can to support them."

Mo Metcalf‑Fisher, from the Countryside Alliance, said: "Farmers need to know that councils are their as allies backing them all the way - not only as they seek to produce seasonal, sustainable produce that we can all enjoy and eat, but also in their work enhancing and maintaining the countryside."