Brexit might be creating uncertainty for the agricultural industry, but relentless negativity from the farming establishment is making the problem worse, says Farmers For Action chairman David Handley.
I don’t suppose I’m the only farmer who now feels we have to get Brexit over and done with and move on to other things.
Nor, I suspect, am I the only one who feels the nagging uncertainty which surrounds us at the moment is being made a thousand times worse by the ceaseless tide of negativity coming from the farming establishment.
I’ve just been listening to NFU president Minette Batters on the radio, and if one took everything she has been saying at face value, we should all be on the phone immediately to the agents, putting our farms on the market and looking around for other things to do.
I remain convinced that we are a big enough, efficient enough and dedicated enough industry to take on the world as stand-alone traders.
We have done it before and we can do it again.
I accept Brexit, in whatever form it arrives, will provide a few months or maybe a year or two of a bumpy ride. But we’ve had bumpy rides before.
Remember BSE and foot-and-mouth, both of which turned us into pariahs?
As an industry we battled through those setbacks because we were big enough and ugly enough to do so.
And the same will be the case, I am certain, with whatever challenges Brexit throws up.
The rest of the world will still want our food – and who a year ago, for instance, could have seen the massive opportunity presented to British pig farmers by the disastrous events in China?
Do I hear anyone anywhere talking of the benefits exiting the EU will bring us, such as the chance to throw off the shackles and go back to farming in ways which suit our climate and our soils and provide what our market needs?
Or the chance to decide our own cropping plans rather than have to dance to Brussels’ tune and implement programmes drawn up by know-nothing bureaucrats in order to qualify for the annual hand-out?
As for the latest claims from the NFU that politicians have ‘let down’ farmers – I cannot believe such naivety.
Who on earth believes what politicians say any more? Has history not taught us a thing or two?
Remember these are members of the same breed who assured us in the 1950s that nuclear power would provide such cheap energy that no-one would ever have electricity bills any more, when the truth is Hinkley Point C is going to be delivering the most expensive power in the country.
Taking that as a yardstick, anyone who believed any politician’s promise that farmers’ interests would somehow be ring-fenced and we should emerge from Brexit with the best of all possible deals is clearly someone who still puts a mince pie and a glass of sherry by the hearth before they retire to bed on Christmas Eve.
Farmers For Action can be found tweeting at @FARMERS4ACTION