Not every farmer will agree with the rise of the BBC’s Countryfile programme and last week’s spin-off event Countryfile Live, but there is no doubt it is connecting with a huge audience.
Many farmers often feel the show gives a sanitised view of the countryside, with real farming issues marginalised. Yet, with almost nine million viewers every Sunday and 80,000 people visiting the event in Oxfordshire, it seems to show the public’s fascination with the countryside is stronger than ever.
For farming, the challenge is to make sure the industry is part of the conversation being prompted by the show, not merely throwing brickbats from the outside.
That is why Farmers Guardian’s 24 Hours in Farming, which takes place this coming Thursday (August 18) and is supported by NFU Mutual, provides such a brilliant opportunity for farmers and industry professionals everywhere to showcase the best facets of the industry.
By utilising social media, the hashtag #farm24 on Twitter and Instagram, and via www.fginsight.com, the whole industry can showcase exactly what happens on farms across the UK.
So whether you are in the midst of harvest, up early milking, attending a county show, selling some sheep at a livestock market, or putting your feet up after a long day at work, we want you to be involved.
By explaining what goes on in farming, 24 Hours in Farming allows the industry to show a wide audience, almost 100 million people during last year’s event, exactly what makes UK agriculture tick.
The general public often knows little of the reality of modern farming and what goes in to producing their food, but they, as consumers, need to know our story.
We have a wonderful industry but all too often we are either too proud or too reluctant to shout about the great things we do, and we lose the chance to connect with our customers in the meantime.
Help us put that right this coming Thursday and embrace #Farm24.
And finally, the news agriculture is not part of the Government’s export plan is, frankly, an utter disgrace. With some of the world’s best produce and a strong brand, UK agriculture should be supported, not cast aside, by those in charge of the country.