Sunday, 17 June 2018
At the Cereals Event Tom Bradshaw, (National Farmers Union - Crops Board Chairman) launched a campaign to highlight the importance of the arable sector; raising awareness of its importance to many other sectors of UK Agriculture. Much of the grain we produce goes to feed poultry, pigs, cattle and sheep, in addition to supplying us with bread, beer and proteins. Without a profitable and vibrant arable sector this could open the door to cheaper imports, produced to lower standards, using chemicals and products that are not registered or licensed in the UK.
Grain is probably one of the easiest crops to store and then export around the world. If stored correctly it will last for years. The infrastructure is in place around the world to move grain from farms to ports and then its a relatively cheap cost to move that grain around the world. This could give us opportunities, if we can produce quality wheat but that is not reliable year on year due to the vagaries of the UK summer weather.Realistically the UK only produces about 1% of the worlds wheat-we are small fish in a very large commodity pond.
So here is the idea. If you are an arable farmer (or any farmer for that matter) use this harvest as an opportunity to show people what you do; what you grow and how that is relevant to everyone else in the country. Tweet loads of pictures of #YourHarvest and use the hashtag.
Find your local MP and invite them out to the farm. In fact invite those from neighbouring constituencies as well and spend a few hours doing a spot of show and tell. Remind them about the technology we use to ensure we are efficient with our crop inputs, that pesticides and fertiliser applied stay in the field. Show them the margins with wildflowers; the wild birdseed mixtures; the fallow plots and the woodland, the new hedges and the trees planted. We have to get this message across. 2 hours is nothing compared to what is at stake over the next 25 years.