Agriculture found itself back in the national news this week, both for good and bad.
Maybe it was the summer recess in Parliament which quietened news agendas, but the nationals turned their attention back to farming on several different platforms.
The week started with appalling headlines in The Times proclaiming ’Farm animals tortured under Red Tractor label’ (July 30), as the publication seized on alleged abuse on a farm in Bedfordshire. While the footage from Animal Equality skewed the reality of what happened on the farm, for many consumers the damage was already done.
Later in the week, the national media cameras descended on the NFU’s drought summit, which followed a similar meeting in Wales the week before brought about by NFU Cymru. Bringing home the reality of what farmers are facing in the dry spell, it is to be hoped politicians listened to farming’s concerns.
These stories were not ones the industry could actively shape and that is why Farmers Guardian’s now annual initiative – 24 Hours in Farming – provides such a great opportunity to tell the real stories behind British farms.
Having achieved a social media reach in excess of 100 million impressions in 2017, next Thursday’s celebration of the industry allows you to showcase the best bits of British farming and debunk some of the myths which surround an industry which is often misunderstood.
A recent poll of consumers in Wales, conducted by YouGov and sanctioned by NFU Cymru, found that 83 per cent of those questioned associated Welsh farmers with providing safe, high-quality and traceable food. Those findings reflect positively on that country’s farming industry, and are likely mirrored across the UK.
The challenge must be to build on such positivity and drive home the upbeat farming messages which sometimes go undiscovered, and you can get involved next week using the hashtag #farm24 on social media.
As we move into a new era of shaping our own farming futures and domestic agricultural policies, it is vital we have consumers on board in terms of support. 24 Hours in Farming is one such opportunity to bridge that gap.