Farmers Guardian’s new campaign has already secured the backing of Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove, as it seeks to celebrate Britain’s farming industry and the vital role its members play in keeping our rural areas thriving.
Supported by New Holland, Farming: The Backbone of Britain will highlight the positive contribution made by farmers and their families, not only in producing food, but as caretakers of our country’s stunning landscapes and booming wildlife populations.
Mr Gove said he was proud to support FG’s ‘fantastic’ campaign: “It is farmers who produce the food we eat to keep us healthy and provide the opportunity for people to get together as a family around the kitchen table.
“It is also farmers who are responsible for 70 per cent of this country’s landscape and to make sure it remains beautiful and provides a habitat for wildlife.
“It is farmers who are part of rural communities and ensure [auxiliary] businesses are capable of surviving and flourishing.
“Farmers are the backbone of the country and the fact FG is leading this campaign to remind us how much we owe farmers is to be hugely welcomed.”
Mr Gove said initiatives such as Farming: The Backbone of Britain and FG’s 24 Hours in Farming event, which takes place for the third year on August 8 and 9, played a ‘powerful’ role in shining a light on the industry and communicating to the wider public what goes on behind the scenes.
He added: “Over my lifetime I have seen a growing divide between urban and rural Britain and campaigns such as this and 24 Hours in Farming help us all appreciate farmers.”
Mr Gove, who is travelling around the country as part of the future agricultural policy consultation events, said the more people understood farming’s pivotal role in society, ‘the easier it is for me in Government to make the case for all the support farmers need and get the public behind farmers’.
Commenting on accusations he was intent on pursuing a cheap food policy and valuing environmental gains over food production, he said: “If you are valuing the environment, you cannot really be an advocate of cheap food. The two almost knock each other out.
“Food produced cheaply abroad actually creates an environmental cost, and other costs, that someone has to bear.
“Britain has an agricultural sector and farmers who can lead the world on high quality food. Of course I want the industry to be as competitive as possible, I want the consumer to get the best deal possible. But the best deal is not just about price, it is about quality.”
FG editor Ben Briggs said: “At a time of such uncertainty about the future of the industry, FG believes it is vital we shout about our pride in an industry which represents the very best attributes of modern Britain.”
It is estimated a third of the global population work in agriculture - making it the single largest employer in the world.
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