It has been said that, ‘at least once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.’
This got me thinking about the huge responsibility farmers have to produce good quality food, consistently, humanely and at affordable prices. Not only do farmers produce the food on our plate three times a day, they also take care of the countryside, and the environment. For those who fail to notice, they are the ones who maintain and manage our green and pleasant land. This, the majority of farmers do routinely, it is called ‘farming’!
If we decided not to care for our arable crops, by ceasing to apply expensive insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers the crops would fail. And next harvest we would see empty grain stores nationwide.
If dairy farmers stopped feeding their cows and turned them out for the winter in muddy fields with no bull, next year there would be no replacement calves, and certainly no milk, butter, cream or cheese.
If beef, sheep, poultry and pig farmers abandoned their livestock, quickly supermarket shelves would run out of British meat products. And it goes without saying, that foreign imports, much of which are of a lesser quality than ours, would soon become increasingly expensive with no local competition.
And what if the farmers stopped cutting hedges, including those along the roadsides. And stopped clearing out the ditches, and woodland which would become overgrown and impenetrable. No longer will we look out across the traditional stunning views stretching far into the distance, as we travel by road or rail. Instead across our countryside, all too quickly blackthorn, gorse and trees would establish themselves and take over.
Gone will be the neatly sown fields in the autumn, the golden fields of ripening corn in the summer, and emerald green evergreen pastures. The countryside which we enjoy and attracts millions of overseas tourists, would very soon disappear beneath a tangle of weeds and thick scrub.
There is a point to my ramblings, and that is, not only do the public need to be reminded what an important role farmers play in our everyday lives, from field to fork, including the countryside we enjoy, and the impact we have on the health of the nation, but so does the government.
As world commodity prices have fallen dramatically over the years, there are few farms which have not met the challenge to support traditional farming, by diversifying into all manner of enterprises. They have used science to increase production, and advanced technology. Upgraded to bigger equipment and use robots and satellite navigation, often resulting in a reduction of labour.
They have found different markets, added value and sold directly to the public. Introduced attractions such as farm shops, tea rooms, various entertainments, and created wedding venues, most of which has involved welcoming the public directly onto our farms.
These changes, many of which would have surprised past generations of farmers, have been made to ensure we can continue to maintain and care for the land and the surrounding countryside.
The agricultural industry, is arguably the most important British business. It is the largest employer other than the NHS, and a major contributor to our GDP. However, it is never top of the list when it comes to government priorities. It is about time it was.
Survival of British agriculture is essential, not just for those whose jobs and way of life depend upon it, including those within related industries, too numerous to mention. But also every man, woman and child whether they live in urban, suburban or rural communities, depend upon us daily. Farmers make a difference to all our lives.
I fail to understand why there is such surprise that The Donald won, as the big money was on his success all along. He has pricked the bubble of the elite establishment, and time will tell what kind of president he becomes. He has much to do, the USA has become a basket case. They should get over it and start supporting him.