He paints a picture of farmers drenching fields with chemical sprays, and damaging the soil structure by tearing across the ground with inappropriate machinery, ‘eradicating soil fertility’.
What Century is the Minister living in, and where is he getting his facts from? If he ventured out into the countryside he would find we do not farm this way . When he recently spoke at the parliamentary launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance, he presumed we did.
On the contrary, farmers are very mindful of their soil structure and its management. This is why most of us have not ploughed our land for over twenty five years or more, unless necessary. We either scratch the surface to create a seed bed, then roll to maintain the moisture and prevent soil erosion, or direct drill without disturbing it at all.
Careful soil management has over many years improved the soil structure, drainage and earthworm count dramatically. Soil advisers regularly test for trace elements and plant nutrients, and professional agronomists’, make recommendations to which we must adhere, regarding weed and pest control. Both are tightly monitored, recorded, and applications restricted by current legislation.
Instead of making out we are all irresponsible, which we clearly are not, Mr Gove should be fighting our corner. And he must defend the use of Glyphosate which is safe and not carcinogenic. Without which we would have to plough deep to bury weeds and black grass.
Perhaps he would also like to look into reintroducing stubble burning. This would dramatically help us cut back on the use of chemicals. A valuable tool used by our forefathers for centuries.
Where does the NFU stand in all this? I fear they are not getting the farmers’ perspective across to the minister.
Our representatives should remind the Mr Gove that the beautiful British countryside, so admired and valued is entirely due to generations of farmers growing crops and rearing livestock. We care deeply, and know more about maintaining the countryside than any environmentalist or quango. Most farmers are way ahead on innovation and pushing the boundaries on conservation alongside producing food.
We are not in farming for the short term. Most farmers have cared for their land for generations, and are there long term. Ministers on the other hand are dropped into a job, can cause havoc and then slip out before they get the blame.
The primary job of farmers is to produce food. Alongside that we take care of the environment, wildlife and soil structure, all of which goes with the territory.
We do not need to be bribed to do this, nor do we appreciate being told that anything we do on our land, must be for the benefit the public, so they can wander wherever they choose.
Perhaps Mr Gove should stroll down the road to Transport House and call on his colleague Chris Grayling, who seems to have the right idea. Last week he suggested that British farmers should be “growing more”, to prepare for Brexit without a deal. Which will happen. A win win for British farmers and the general public.
The Farmers Weekly has been highly praised for its fly tipping campaign – STOP THE BLOT.
Environment minister Dr Therese Coffey, wants to raise fines, but few culprits are caught. Councils should make it easier to take rubbish to municipal tips by dropping fees, which are dwarfed by the cost of clearing up the mess.
She should also ensure councils have teams out collecting., as farmers and land owners should never have carry the cost.