MINETTE BATTERS, the NFU Deputy President fears that farmers’ role as custodians of the land is being taken away from them and urges farmers to improve communication with the public to secure a better future for the industry. Speaking at a recent Montgomeryshire NFU Cymru County Conference, Minette Batters, said: “There is a strong lobby out there and the danger of course is that Government ever more frequently is listening to the anti-farming lobby with farmers ultimately paying the price. “As our population increases, diet evolves and climate changes, we will become increasingly dependent on our agricultural land for food production.
“The techniques of how we lobby as an industry are changing at a pace. What we need to do is turn the wheel, there is tremendous public support and interest in food and in what we as farmers do, so let’s embrace this and engage more with the public, get them on side, and then with their support we can then look forward to a better future for our industry.” As well as her work with shoppers via ‘Ladies in Beef’, through the NFU she campaigns for food and farming awareness to be at the heart of the school curriculum. She added: “For a start, and fundamental to all else, it’s about getting consumers on our side and the earlier in their lives the better. “There’s got to be a moral obligation somewhere.
With rising levels of obesity and the burden that puts on the health service not to mention food waste; we’re more often than not told that we can’t afford the time to teach children about the fundamentals of food, but I’d ask whether we can afford not to?” She also spoke of the frustration felt by many farmers not least dairy who are currently not getting a sustainable price for their produce.
She said: “The global market situation is difficult, there’s no doubting that fact but there are things we can do to improve the situation although we need the Government, UK processors, retailers and levy bodies to support our farmers in ensuring a long-term sustainable future for domestic production. Jonathan Wilkinson, Montgomeryshire County Chairman said: “These are challenging times at the moment, all commodities are suffering, but we have a good story to tell and one way we can do this is through harnessing the power of social media. “Let’s use it to tell the industry’s stories in its own words while reaching an entirely new audience in the process.”