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Opinion - Farming is the proudest industry in the UK, and rightly so

Following reports this week of farming being named the proudest industry to work in, Ben Briggs looks at what the industry needs to do to spread the right message about the true farming life.

Ben   Briggs

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Ben   Briggs
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Pride and prejudice

 

"Farmers are the proudest of all UK professionals, according to a new survey. And who could blame them?


"There is surely no more vital an industry than one which provides people with food to eat and live.


"Pride in the industry and landscape is currently boosted by the onset of spring and the UK countryside at its verdant best.

 

"With tangible evidence of farmers’ work available for all to see, whether it is spring lambs, calves, emerging crops or oilseed rape creating a patchwork landscape, farming’s influence is all around us.


"While on a break in Pembrokeshire last week and talking to some farmers in one of the local pubs, it was humbling to hear them speak of their farms, their families and their way of life with such passion and pride.


"However, an incident the day after made me question whether the pride farmers take in their work is acknowledged by the wider population.


"While on the Pembrokeshire coastal path, I overheard another walker saying how nice it was to see cattle (Welsh Blacks) roaming the fields ‘as they should’.


"The same person then told her friend how reports on programmes such as BBC’s Countryfile about, in her words, ‘2,000-cow indoor housed mega dairies’ were now the reality for so many cattle and what a shame that was.


"I do not think she had a particular axe to grind against farmers, but it showed to me what a big job the industry has when it comes to making its pride in what it does resonate more widely.


"That is why the move by animal health bodies this week to combat negative headlines about antibiotic use with a proactive approach is key to preventing myth, rumour and untruths from hurting the farming industry.


"Being on the front foot with coherent reasoning is vital because, for farming, public ignorance of its systems and methods really is not bliss."

 

- Ben Briggs, editor

May 20, 2016

 

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