From the editor: Showing farming's worth to society will be crucial


By this time next week we should hopefully know which political party will be leading the UK for the next five years, but whether we have a clearer idea of their plans for agriculture will be a different matter.


What started off with a snap election call by a Prime Minister seeking a mandate for Brexit has quickly turned in to something more complex. In a political landscape in which the cult of personality still seems to dominate, Theresa May’s sometimes wooden media appearances have done her no favours with voters.


What seemed like it was going to be a Conservative Party coronation has been muddied as the campaign has unfolded. It is still debatable, however, whether the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn will find enough favour in its urban heartlands to really challenge the Conservative tide. And all the while farming is in hiatus.


The Brexit starting gun has been fired but no-one has really shifted from the starting line, and when they do the challenges ahead will be fierce. As today’s front page shows, there appears to be little will in Europe for us to retain market access once we have left the club. Whether that is bluster or bravado will be exposed in time, but for some sectors, such as sheep farming, preventative tariffs could be disastrous in the long run.


But no farmer should be sat thinking the status quo will simply be retained going forward. We live in a time in which the demands on the state are changing and the horrific scenes of terrorism in Manchester last week showed the huge threat posed to the UK and will only add credence to calls for more funding for the police.


As an industry we need to acknowledge we are one of many sectors which will be trying to grab from a finite pot of funding in the post- Brexit era. To stand a good chance of securing what is required we will need coherent arguments which showcase why farming and food production matters, not only for those in the industry but for society as a whole.



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