Visit the UK’s leading indoor agricultural event, with eleven packed halls of the very latest in agricultural machinery and equipment. Now at the NEC, Birmingham this is free to attend and free to park.
Farmers are in for a Brexit storm, but the UK’s world-leading work on food traceability and animal welfare will give them the strength to weather it until the sun shines again, says Matt Legge, a sheep, beef and pig farmer from the Isle of Wight.
Focusing on food production at the expense of the environment is a mistake, because our food supply can only be secure with healthy soils and pollinators, says Martin Lines, chairman of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.
Whether the UK gets a Brexit deal or not, farmers will eventually end up with roughly the same outcome because markets will still be there, argues Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer from the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.
UK farmers are already over-regulated and allowing cheaper food imports to flood in after Brexit would make them unable to compete, says Ted Trewella, a new entrant sheep farmer from Aberystwyth, Wales.
The Brexit process is like rafting down a river with lots of obstacles to be navigated. But unlike most white water rafting trips, the cox, there to steer the raft to calmer waters, has fallen overboard, says Cheshire dairy farmer Phil Latham.
Farmers are used to dealing with uncertainty related to the weather, disease and politics. The Brexit challenge is no greater than any other we have faced, says John Henning, County Armagh beef farmer, Nuffield Scholar and former banker.
This year’s weather has shown exactly why Government must continue to financially support the agricultural sector, says Perthshire arable farmer and chair of NFU Scotland’s combinable crops committee Ian Sands.
Most farmers would struggle to name five areas where British agriculture is world-class, but with the right support, UK farming can match the Netherlands on food exports, says arable farmer and NFU Sugar Board member Tom Clarke.
The Chequers agreement is not a sensible Brexit compromise for agriculture because it keeps all the downsides of EU membership while limiting the upsides of leaving, says Sam Goddard, an arable farmer from north west Essex.
The England football team is young, vibrant and has more opportunity to reach its full potential than it has in more than 50 years. Staffordshire beef and arable farmer Richard Bower says Brexit puts the agricultural industry in much the same position.
Farmers cannot control the decisions politicians make on Brexit, but they can control how well-prepared their businesses are for any upcoming change, says Sarah Allison, Carnwath hill farmer and NFU Scotland next generation vice chair.
The inflexibility of current agri-environment schemes has prevented farmers from properly catering for wildlife, says Martin Lines, Cambridgeshire arable farmer. Government must not make the same mistakes post-Brexit.
Farmers’ futures are in the hands of politicians as far as Brexit is concerned, Perthshire arable farmer and chair of NFUS combinable crops committee Ian Sands says. It’s time they got on with the job of getting us the right deal.
Cirencester farmer James Wright, who keeps 300 New Zealand Romney ewes and 6 million Black Soldier flies for animal feed, explains why he has considered selling his flock in the face of Brexit uncertainty.
If the Welsh Government drops its ‘sore loser syndrome’ and puts its energy into working constructively with the UK, Brexit could the best opportunity ever for agriculture, says David Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder producing eggs and poultry.
Policy wonks at the Adam Smith Institute are calling for all food tariffs to be unilaterally dropped in a no-deal Brexit, but their hero would not have supported such a move, says arable farmer and NFU Sugar Board member Tom Clarke.
Anti-Brexit ‘big business’ should recognise the 17.4m people who voted to leave are their customers, who do not appreciate democracy being turned on its head, says John Henning, County Armagh beef farmer, Nuffield Scholar and former banker.
Brexit, like the Great Fire of London, has already destroyed much of the Westminster we knew, but it will make way for a new political reality with different priorities, says David Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder producing eggs and poultry.
There are some benefits to being an EU member, but European rules on dairy quotas, BSE and fencing stakes have closed numerous British farming businesses, says Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer from the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.
The UK Government’s poor attempt to manage the glaring contradictions in its post-Brexit ag policy might appear farcical, but farmers are unlikely to be laughing as the Carry On saga continues, says Leicestershire arable and beef farmer Joe Stanley.
Other countries send agriculture officials to meetings on world food security, but the UK is represented by the Department for International Development. Staffordshire beef and arable farmer Richard Bower asks whether this can remain the position after Brexit.
Change is not something farmers should fear, but they deserve to be told by politicians what kind of change they should be expecting, say Sarah Allison, Carnwath hill farmer and NFU Scotland next generation vice chair and her father, Alex Allison.
The EU takes our money and constantly tells us what we can and can’t do. It’s time we plucked up the courage to leave on our own terms instead of cowering in fear like an abused spouse, says South Welsh smallholder David Herbert.
Direct payments have kept farmers on the land, but without allowing them to make real money. Removing them would mean shoppers have to pay a realistic price for their food, says Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer working on the Herefordshire and Worcestershire border.