The British public values farmers ahead of teachers, reports county adviser Gemma Harvey. The event highlights backing for homegrown food production
More than 100 MPs and peers came together to celebrate Back British Farming Day 2023 on 13th September. Now in its eighth year, it is a day to celebrate our farmers and growers – and the British food that they provide.
This year, the Farmer Favourability Survey polled 2,000 people in England and Wales and farmers came out ahead of teachers, engineers, police officers and lawyers in people’s perceptions – coming second only to nursing.
Back British Farming Day gave us an opportunity to remind MPs why British food and farming must be at the forefront of their strategies to win votes in the upcoming general election.
Essential to the economy
NFU President Minette Batters said: ‘Britain’s farmers and growers are truly inspirational, and it is heart-warming to know the public really value the work we do in producing fantastic homegrown food. This food underpins the British food and farming sector and is worth more than £100 billion to the national economy, all while protecting and enhancing our iconic landscapes.
‘As these survey results show, the public really appreciates what Britain’s farmers and growers do day-in, day-out. The public know it’s important – 90 per cent of them say it’s essential to the UK economy while 81 per cent agreed that British farms should grow as much food as they can to provide national food security.’
Engaging with MPs
On the day the NFU hosted a breakfast reception in the House of Commons, sponsored by Siobhan Baillie MP, during which MPs learned about the important work that British farmers do all year round.
MPs also had the opportunity to publicly demonstrate their support for farming by wearing the iconic wool-and-wheatsheaf badge during Prime Minister’s Questions, grabbing a photo, and sharing their support via Twitter using the hashtag #BackBritishFarmingDay.
Also in attendance was CEO of City Harvest, Sarah Calcutt (see how City Harvest is helping combat food waste here).
MPs heard that, according to the Farmer Favourability Survey, 87 per cent of respondents support increasing self-sufficiency in UK food production.
Minette added: ‘This is a clear message that the public backs our calls for government to prioritise homegrown food production and legislate to ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency does not drop below its current level of 60 per cent.
‘Fundamentally, investing in domestic food production means we can increase our productivity, create more jobs and deliver much more for the economy and for the environment.
‘We know we have huge public support – we now just need our politicians to also back British farming like never before.’
Other high profile people who got involved included Jamie Oliver, Jeremy Clarkson, Kaleb Cooper, Adam Henson and JB Gill as #BackBritishFarmingDay trended on Twitter.
Hundreds of members of the public posted on social media, joining farmers to share supportive messages – more then 6,500 people used the hashtag, and it was seen more than 92 million times!