Farmers are working together to improve the habitat and increase quality food production, but we can’t be undermined by lower standard imports, argues James Cossins.
November is normally one of my least favourite months of the year. The days are getting shorter and, generally, there’s wetter and colder weather arriving.
This year, although the days are shorter, the weather has been particularly kind to us farmers. There’s been very little rain and the generally mild temperature has led to cattle being able to stay out grazing for longer without creating an enormous amount of mud.
Also most of the autumn arable operations have come to a close. Most of the crops sown have established well and there should be a mass of yellow flowering oilseeds in April to look forward to.
In the past month there have been many farmer meetings taking place out on the farm or in other venues rather than looking at each other on Zoom It makes a pleasant change to actually meet fellow farmers again.
I am sure that online meetings will still have a place but it is great to get out and about once more.
One such meeting involved our Cranborne Chase Cluster group which is made up of like-minded neighbouring farmers looking to co-operate to improve the diversity of our farms. We join forces to create a better environment for soil, water, air and wildlife habits.
The most recent gathering involved us learning from an advisor how best to manage our soils in order to produce good crops. This involves not destroying the soil structure by poor management involving compaction and poor organic soil content. We were also encouraged to do an earthworm count as a measure of soil health.
Our local agricultural discussion group hosted an interesting evening with our MP Simon Hoare.
Simon gave us his thoughts on the future of farming which he thought was positive; although we must accept the need for change in how Government support is implemented, with a greater emphasis on the environment rather than just food production. Simon stressed that, with his involvement in the shaping of the Agricultural Bill, food production was still a key part of farming activities. It seems that some MPs have forgotten that food production was a key part of the UK economy.
He said that although some trade deals have been successfully negotiated we must not let food production standards from imported foods undermine the high standards and potentially higher costs of production that we have in this country.
Thank you Simon for the support you give to agriculture and it’s associated industries, as I know you are often in a minority voice within government in keeping the rural voice alive.
Higher prices inevitable
As we look forward to next year we as farmers and growers face many challenges, especially with high input costs such as fuel, fertilisers and feed costs.
We have recently received a milk price increase, which is very welcome, and also cereals remain high, but I fear and believe that food prices in the shops will have to increase without anyone being any better off.
Let’s hope that maybe there will be some normality back next year. Perhaps that is wishful thinking.
Merry Christmas to you all! James
by James Cossins, a fifth generation farmer in the Tarrant Valley.
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