ISSUES affecting Cumbrian sheep farmers will be discussed with DEFRA Secretary Owen Paterson when he visits South Lakeland on Thursday.

Farmer and National Sheep Association (NSA) chairman John Geldard will host the visit, which will begin with a tour of the Geldard family’s farm at Levens. Afterwards, minister will visit local farming and retail businesses.

In the afternoon, Mr Paterson will be involved in question and answer session with sheep farmers NSA officials at J36 Rural Auction Centre, Crooklands.

Among issues expected to be discussed with the minister are the role of sheep in rural areas of the UK, the fine balance between food production and environmental projects, and the need for targeted allocation of future Rural Development Programme funding.