Join Farmers Guardian Editor Ben Briggs, and Head of News and Business Olivia Midgley, for weekly thought-provoking and lighthearted debate around the key issues affecting farming, food and the countryside right now.
If we want to preserve the future desirability of British food, then, according to the results of a British Guild of Agricultural Journalists’ (BGAJ) survey, we need to mobilise an army of Brexit voting women over the age of 55 to take charge of the nation’s shopping.
In 2005, a UK travel company branded the third Monday in January ‘Blue Monday’ – the day of the year we are most likely to be depressed, with the festivities of Christmas a distant memory, high debt levels and our New Year’s resolutions out the window.
To use a spot of football jargon, the Brexit negotiations benefited from their very own version of ’Fergie-time’, that fabled bit of extra-extra time that would seemingly appear at the end of Manchester United games when the Red Devils were managed by Sir Alex Ferguson. The games would go on longer than expected but the desired result, for Sir Alex at least, was achieved in the end.
If Defra’s latest document is anything to go by, the path of agricultural transition will be beset by instances in which bureaucratic ideology butts up against the realities of farming and food production.
While for the most part agriculture has avoided the worst effects of Covid-19, minds are certainly starting to focus on the breadth of change heading the industry’s way in 2021, namely Brexit and the shifting sands of farm support.
Picture the scene. It is the end of 2021 and there has been a no-deal Brexit, while Basic Payments have also started to reduce in line with Government plans to move towards a more environmentally-based farming support structure.
Increased production and commercial innovation prevented flour shortages during the first lockdown – so there’s no need to panic this time, says National Association of British and Irish Millers (nabim) director Alex Waugh.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to my MP asking why he chose to vote down the Agriculture Bill when, in the constituency that he represents, the largest sector of employment is agriculture. Do you know what he said?
Over the past few weeks, we have seen how Covid-19 has impacted lives across the UK, affecting every aspect of how we live, work and socially interact, says Chris Lewis, a farming specialist at Marsh Commercial.
Many farmers voted to leave the EU despite the fact that leaving putting the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) at risk. As we all know, the top up from the BPS is the difference between profit and loss on many farms.
WHEN Minette Batters stood on the NFU conference platform last week and declared that throwing our world leading welfare standards on the funeral pyre of global trade would be ’morally bankrupt’ and ’insane’, she meant it as an admonishing challenge to Government, not as something to aspire to in wider policy construction.
The RSPB and the NFU should be natural allies in a post-Brexit world, but working together means we must both acknowledge the seriousness of the environmental challenges we face. The NFU’s latest environment report does not do this, says Tom Lancaster, RSPB principal policy officer for agriculture.