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Farming Matters: Abi Reader - 'We will provide safe, traceable, affordable food for the nation'

These are strange times to be writing a column. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc everywhere. The food supply chain has taken a massive hit and many farmers are hurting right now.

The loss of the food service sector, literally overnight, is going to take a long time to recover.

 

I am currently an office holder in NFU Cymru, as their dairy board chairwoman.

 

I can only assure you all office holders, all boards and all NFU and NFU Cymru staff are doing their utmost to fight our corner.

 

My thoughts are also with other essential workers who are trying to keep the world turning, particularly the NHS, and my heart goes out to those who are suffering from this nightmare disease.

 

The agricultural industry is caught up in the middle of carnage, yet I can feel the unwritten code filtering through all of us – we will provide food for the nation.

 

Safe, traceable, affordable food, like we always have.


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Change

 

And, of course, that is not just ‘we’ the farmers. It is the industry.

 

It is our teams of staff, suppliers, truckers, engineers, vets, auctioneers, specialist advisers and more.

 

The industry is changing very rapidly while the population decides how it will eat today, tomorrow and in the future.

 

The change is not often good, or at least it feels that way right now.

 

If your business is feeling the change, it is very important you feed this back to organisations like NFU straight away.

 

Every single piece of information about how businesses are being affected is important right now. We have to know as quickly as possible what’s going on so we can react.

 

In spite of these challenging times, I managed to turn my cows out for the first time last week.

 

It was an absolutely fantastic feeling to see them charging around the fields after such a long, wet winter.

 

I filmed the event and shared it on social media for people stuck in isolation in their homes, away from the fields and the open spaces.

 

It has had nearly 30,000 views in total. I have made a resolution to share something happy every day for these people and it is great to see other farmers doing the same.

 

I will finish by giving a massive thumbs up to my old Young Farmers Club Maendy YFC for their brilliant #ToiletRollChallenge. Be sure to check it out on Twitter.

 

If you are a YFC, or quite frankly any agricultural club, group or organisation, get on it, because it will make somebody smile.

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