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On the day the European Parliament voted in favour of renewing glyphosate’s approval for use, albeit with restrictions attached, a local farmer forwarded me an email from his MEP sharing news of the vote’s outcome.
He had written to her expressing his concerns over the potential impact to his business of the loss of use of glyphosate and she had responded with a very prompt update on developments.
At the time it struck me that here was a grower who had taken the decision to engage with the political process. And, I wondered, do enough of us in the arable sector do that?
Pah, you might say, who has got time to talk to politicians? I have got crops to drill and fields to walk and solutions to find to the problems those very politicians create.
But the simple fact is, if you don’t speak up, your voice won’t be heard. And while a whole range of organisations work hard to put farming’s case to our own Government, and leaders in Europe, they in most cases don’t see what is happening on your farm.
Politics is so deeply entwined with what we do in modern agriculture that whether you view yourself as ‘political’ or not, it must surely be as vital to be politically informed as it is to be up-to-speed with the latest agronomy or grain marketing developments. So whether it be making contact with your local MP or MEP, or taking the time to share your views with farming union officeholders, why not take the first step? Your business might just benefit from it.
Political ponderings aside, I’ve been witnessing at first hand the frustration caused by weather delays to spring fieldwork. I don’t have to go too far to see undrilled land or detect concerns over delayed fungicide sprays. I know as an industry we are rarely truly happy with the weather, but this seemingly everlasting period of rain and wind is adding unwelcome extra pressures during what are already difficult times.
I came to the conclusion as I was putting together this issue that my colleagues have definitely had their boots on in recent weeks. If you are contemplating a change in drilling policy, refining agronomy on high yielding milling wheats or looking for a renewables diversification opportunity, read on. We’ve been out on-farm, talking to growers who think along the same lines as you.
Here’s to some drier, stiller weather.
Teresa Rush, Arable Farming editor.