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Farming matters: Will Case - 'Farming is waiting to prove itself in an independent Britain'

I am a naturally optimistic person. I can usually find some sort of silver lining to most clouds and, currently, the livestock sector is feeling pretty good.

Sheep, beef and egg producer from Ulverston, Cumbria
Sheep, beef and egg producer from Ulverston, Cumbria

Record prices for beef and lamb have given farmers great confidence as they go about their business buying breeding stock at autumn sales.

The market is rewarding finishers, with strong demand and high prices for quality animals.

It could be said that the market is finally delivering a reasonable price, but however you look at it, the current trade has brought a feel good factor and that is certainly a positive change.

The tremendous quality of British livestock is a sight to behold and, when seeing lambs sold at my local market, I do not think the standard has ever been better.

British beef is in high demand, as consumers enjoy the taste and premium quality, and this rightly gives us all confidence.

There is nothing more satisfying than the way the great British public has chosen to buy British during 2020. They have voted with their wallets and backed British farming.

Their custom is a vote of confidence in our farming methods and the way we care for the countryside.

Rejection

 

Earlier in the year, when Polish beef was imported by some supermarkets, consumers widely rejected it in favour of our own British produce. But this loyalty will have to be built upon, as there are threats ahead.

It seems the Government is determined to weasel out of its own manifesto pledge to protect our environment, animal welfare and food safety standards. We should not be surprised, as selling out UK agriculture is at the very heart of the Brexit project.


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British beef is in high demand, as consumers enjoy the taste and premium quality, says Will Case.
British beef is in high demand, as consumers enjoy the taste and premium quality, says Will Case.

The EU protects its farmers and our Government wants to have the option to sell us out in order to sign quick trade deals. Sadly, we had better get used to it.

The big prize of Brexit is getting a trade deal with America and our Government seems prepared to make any sacrifice necessary to make it happen.

But as far as farming is concerned, this is all just a sideshow if we do not secure a trade deal with our biggest trading partner, the EU.

The madness of tariffs being imposed on us all in a no deal Brexit is a frightening prospect.

Has there ever been a time when there has been less certainty and when so much of our future rides on the whims of politicians? There are two sides to every story though and there are great reasons to be positive and real reasons to be pessimistic.

We have a world class farming industry, growing in confidence, but desperate for direction to prove its worth in the new independent Britain.

We have fantastic customers in the UK and abroad who value our standards and want to buy our high quality, sustainable produce.

It feels to me that despite the threats, it is all waiting to happen for British farming. I just hope politics doesn’t mess it all up.

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