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Abi Reader: ‘The way forward is to continue to produce safe, affordable and traceable food for the nation’

No one will be more pleased than me to see the back of January – I am calling it by its proper name rather than its vegan slang.  

I have tried not to be drawn into this insufferable social media debate about diets; I certainly see no sense in engaging with extremists over social media. All they do is throw rocks in the dark, leave them be.

 

However, this month also grabs the attention of the papers and broadcasters who are persistently chasing farmers everywhere for comment.

 

The reach of these is entirely different and if these media outlets choose to engage with us they can offer opportunity to tell our story - if you are not at the table you might end up on the plate.

 

Caution is imperative because the media is actively hunting for the angry farmer to sensationalise what is otherwise a trivial story.

 

Many farmers have asked me about my appearance on Channel 4’s Apocalypse Cow with George Monbiot. I remember a few years ago in an interview being asked ‘who would you want to be stuck in a lift with?’

 

My answer without hesitation was George Monbiot; for the desire for debate, and out of curiosity. To have him on farm was quite an experience and, despite clearly going head to head with Mr Monbiot, I did enjoy the day.


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I cannot say much about the filming day because the terms of the contract I signed do not permit it.

 

Filming ran from 9am-10.30pm.

 

NFU Cymru and NFU supported me throughout the process; the work they put in to this was fantastic.

 

Mr Monbiot is a seasoned sensationalist; he has even written ‘An Activist Guide to Exploiting the Media’. With Apocalypse Cow he knew his plan.

 

But he did not know our plan so that was maybe a bit unexpected. It is a shame some of what was achieved that day, which will forever make me immensely proud to be part of NFU Cymru and NFU, did not make the final cut.

 

The programme is what it is, a Channel 4 weekday program at 10pm, way past dairy farmers’ bedtime.

 

I respect Mr Monbiot’s far superior knowledge to mine on global environmental matters; he is very well read and travelled. I did feel his outlook was too global with not enough emphasis on regional and local issues; I did not like this.

 

I think my agricultural knowledge was far superior to Mr Monbiot. The ideal would be to combine our knowledge to produce positive results.

 

In the unlikely event this will happen, I think the way forward is to continue to produce safe, affordable, traceable food for the nation and to aim for the NFU target for the British Farming Industry to be carbon neutral by 2040. This is definitely a positive result.

 

On a lighter note, for those who have been following, my farm passed our first bTB test since going down with the disease in May 2019. I am crossing everything for our second test in March.

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