WATER Minister Dan Rogerson will address a conference which will discuss introducing a Yorkshire-wide strategy for water management.

The Defra minister and MP for North Cornwall is the keynote speaker at the free event at the Food and Environment Research Agency at Sand Hutton, York, on Tuesday, February 11.

The conference has been organised by the Yorkshire Food, Farming and Rural Network which brings together people from rural communities, businesses and the food and farming industries to identify local issues and concerns direct to Government. It is hosted and supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Charles Mills, network chairman, said: “Given the recent horrendous weather, exploring the many issues around flooding, drought and climate change could not be more topical. Undoubtedly extreme weather patterns are becoming more prevalent.

“This event brings together key people, including the Minister with specific responsibility for water, and so provides a valuable opportunity to hear the latest ideas, to share your own thoughts and work towards a Yorkshire- wide strategy to put to government.

“Our aim is to use the outcomes of the day to plan the next steps and influence government policy.”

Mr Mills farms at Appleton Roebuck, near York. He is a trustee of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and vice-chairman of the Ainsty 2008 Drainage Board.

Other speakers include Craig McGarvey, the Environment Agency’s regional environment and performance manager, Ian Stevens from Yorkshire Water, Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, lecturer in Newcastle University’s Agriculture, Food & Rural Department who will discuss soil management and Paul Hammett, the NFU’s water resources specialist.

A panel, including Dorothy Fairburn, regional director of the CLA and Richard Pearson, regional director of the NFU, will debate the audience’s views on issues such as waterways maintenance and dredging.

The free event is open to all. To book, email Elizabeth Hudson, Yorkshire Agricultural Society, on elizabethh@yas.co.uk or call 07702 598108.