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.
Farming is a resilient industry, but there is still much work to do on issues such as export certificates, trade deals and future policy to prepare us for Brexit, says Matt Legge, a sheep, beef and pig farmer from the Isle of Wight.
Once ELMs has run its course, the next scheme to be dreamed up by our acronym-loving leaders will be the Complete Rewilding of Agricultural Property Scheme, says Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer from the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.
The UK can lead the world in tackling our climate and nature emergency by protecting food production standards in law, but sadly, politicians do not seem to recognise this, says Martin Lines, chairman of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.
This Government’s sugar plans, whether changing the tariff regime or refusing to reconsider the neonics ban for beet, prove no Minister is backing British farming, says Leicestershire arable and beef farmer Joe Stanley.
With the chance of reaching a good trade deal with the EU slipping away, we may soon need to start knitting parachutes for a cliff edge exit in December, says Matt Legge, a sheep, beef and pig farmer from the Isle of Wight.
Banning imports is an impractical and probably illegal idea which was always doomed to fail, but there are other ways to protect our domestic food standards, says Cambridgeshire Fens farmer Tom Clarke.
The coronavirus has shown we can pull together as a community to get things done. We must keep the same spirit to push on with Brexit, says David Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder producing eggs and poultry.
It is March 20, 2040 exactly 20 years to the day since the Coronavirus pandemic forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson (remember him?) to acknowledge the Brexit transition period would have to be extended, says Cambridgeshire Fens farmer Tom Clarke.
As the UK sees the biggest shake-up in agri-funding in decades, future Government policy must support farmers for the ‘public goods’ they provide in tackling climate change, says Martin Lines, Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) chairman.
Selling on the deadweight gives control to buyers, but if all slaughter stock was sold at auction, competition and prices would almost certainly increase, says Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer from the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.
Farmers are working 65 hours a week and struggling to recruit new staff. It’s time for industry to start collecting data on how labour shortages are affecting farmers’ mental health and wellbeing, says Cheshire dairy farmer Phil Latham.
People in Cornwall do not fear Brexit, but they do fear continued uncertainty and lack of direction, which is why I’m hoping for a clear result in this election, says Cornish lamb and beef farmer Rona Amiss.
Many people might be tempted to avoid the advent election, but a potential shortage of pigs in blankets should remind us how our everyday lives are affected by Brexit and get us out the door to vote, says Isle of Wight farmer Matt Legge.
The real threat to agriculture is not Brexit negotiations, but the fact that Ministers and industry representatives don’t listen to farmers’ concerns about rock-bottom farmgate prices, says Cornish lamb and beef farmer Rona Amiss.
2019 has been a wonderful growing season, so I have no concerns about food shortages, whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not, says Neil Farmer, an arable and sheep farmer from the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.
Over the next 30 years, farmers will have to produce more food for more people with fewer resources. This is a huge challenge, and much more important than Brexit, says Cambridgeshire Fens farmer Tom Clarke.
The Government’s package to protect ag in a no-deal Brexit proves Ministers expect it to have a big impact, but farmers can only hope the size of the hit has been accurately assessed, says Matt Legge, a livestock farmer from the Isle of Wight.
If some of the energy focused on a second remain campaign over the past three years had been channelled into achieving the best outcome, then our preparedness for a ’no-deal’ would be much further advanced, says County Armagh beef farmer John Henning.
If everyone could come together to propose a way forward instead of wishing the clocks could be turned back, we could find ourselves leading the way in terms of innovation, says David Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder producing eggs and poultry.
The Government is pushing for a new ag policy which trumpets the benefits of rewilding, zip-lining and vintage steam-engine rallies without recognising the importance of food production. It is a recipe for disaster, says Leicestershire arable and beef farmer Joe Stanley.
Farmers who voted leave will not change their minds about the EU, and have confidence in UK agriculture to deliver food and environmental benefits outside the CAP, says County Armagh beef farmer John Henning.
Many farmers are already diversifying ahead of Brexit, but the UK needs to take this opportunity to totally reshape the industry - by legalising marijuana, says Dave Herbert, a South Welsh smallholder producing eggs and poultry.
With farmers set to enter a new agricultural scheme after Brexit, now is the time to start proving the environmental work they do provides value for money, says Martin Lines, chairman of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.
It is remarkable that after all the warnings from the NFU, and even leaver Michael Gove, about how a no-deal Brexit will affect agriculture, some farmers are clamouring for it, says Leicestershire arable and beef farmer Joe Stanley.
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.