The new chair of Isle of Wight NFU is well known to many within the rural community and she’s looking forward to a gradual relaxation of COVID rules.

Robyn Munt is a farm secretary and mother-of-2, from Parkwater Farm, Newport, and the daughter of sheep farmers Les and Carol Morris. Robyn is married to Ryan Munt who, together with his business partner, Marcus Rickard, owns and runs MR Agri – the Isle of Wight Claas machinery dealership, near Newport.

Mrs Munt, who like many parents has been juggling work and home-schooling during the most recent lockdown, explained how life has been under the restrictions. She said:

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“While the day to day of farm life has continued almost as usual, like many I’m looking forward to a phased relaxation of Covid regulations so that our everyday lives can begin to return to normal.

“Many of the Island’s rural businesses are dependant on the visitor economy, and so we all look forward to better, more normal times with both residents and tourists being able to move around more freely.”

During the pandemic, the Island’s food system has come into its own, with consumers valuing a safe and secure supply of food available from local businesses, with Island retailers providing an ‘invaluable’ service for shoppers seeking to buy quality local food, and many expanding on existing or new home delivery services.

She explained:

“These producers and retailers will be keen to retain their existing customers and to attract new ones during 2021, and the same goes for accommodation providers on the Island. Many provide a gateway to the Island’s beautiful countryside while showcasing the best of Island produce.”

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Robyn Munt believes Island farms are well placed to adapt to changes in farm support.

“Future farm support will be geared to producing public goods.

“As farmers, I believe that we not only produce high quality food, but we are both the managers and custodians of much of the Island’s stunning landscapes that have been farmed for centuries. The widespread network of footpaths and byways across farmland here are valued by Islanders and visitors alike.”

Mrs Munt is also a supporter of the Island’s Young Farmers’ Club and a firm believer in education about food and farming, such as the programme delivered by NFU Education.

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She added:

“It think it is so important that our children and young people know where their food comes from and that teachers know where to find reputable online resources about farming and food, all of which are available at NFUEducation.

“Island farmers take great pride in showcasing what they are doing and a number of our members regularly host educational visits on their farms, ensuring the next generation grows up valuing agriculture.”

Following the NFU’s annual conference last month, Robyn Munt took up the reins as NFU chairman from livestock farmer Matt Legge, of Duxmore, near Newport.

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