FW Opinion: Is farming’s fear of failure a brake on progress?


At what age do you get cynical about there being nothing new underneath the solar? If I had a fiver (not a pound – inflation) for every time I heard regenerative agriculture are available in for heavy tutting because it’s merely “what our grandfathers did” then I’d be capable to afford a five-furrow reversible.

But so what? Alongside pipe smoking and the heavy use of a Morris Minor, of course realizing the way to farm with fewer chemical compounds was one thing many individuals’s grandfathers did within the period earlier than low cost, efficient and considerable fertiliser and agchems.

Now that it seems credible there might be an period after these merchandise, it appears proper to mud off a few outdated concepts and see how they work on this century.

See additionally: Retailer spats put us in danger of meals shortages

About the creator

Andrew Meredith

Farmers Weekly editor

Andrew has been Farmers Weekly editor since January 2021 after doing stints on the enterprise and arable desk. Before becoming a member of the group, he labored on his household’s upland beef and sheep farm in mid Wales and studied agriculture at Aberystwyth University. In his free time he can usually be discovered persevering with his analysis into which store sells London’s most interesting Scotch egg.

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I’m as completely happy as anybody to lampoon any individual or establishment with an overinflated sense of their very own significance, however there must be a steadiness between that and stifling the passion of those that enhance our trade by difficult the established order.

In that spirit, enable me to briefly point out two establishments within the information this week: The Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture (Tiah) and the Agriculture and previously Horticulture Development Board. AHDB (to make use of the correct title) is cheerfully celebrating the fruits of a model rehabilitation train.

After lastly discovering out who’s sending it cash, it fastidiously didn’t ask farmers whether or not it must be scrapped and is now very happy that nobody stated it ought to.

Tiah has been set as much as clear up a pile of woes linked to the recruitment and retention of farm workers (however simply in England).

It has secured £1.8m from Defra for this objective and is now on the hunt for 300 farmers to inform it whether or not or not this kind of assist is needed.

Neither of these our bodies has the capability to single-handedly save farming. And anybody who’s a levypayer or a taxpayer ought to scrutinise whether or not they characterize worth for cash.

But I might moderately be a half of an trade with the capability and enthusiasm for large concepts than a timid sector that’s so afraid of failure it withers away.

In return, criticism delivered in that spirit from farmers must be welcomed moderately than discouraged, and no agency, public or personal, ought to get so large that they overlook they don’t mechanically have a proper to exist.

So effectively performed AHDB on clarifying your priorities – now your job is to ship on them. And good luck Tiah – hopefully you’ll give again some of the Defra cash to your farmer cohort by paying them for his or her time.

Are you retaining tales to your self?

Ten years in the past one of my favorite columnists was The Secret Footballer in The Guardian.

Being nameless gave them the chance to be way more outspoken and sincere.

Now I would really like to have the ability to do this at Farmers Weekly. If you suppose you possibly can carry the lid on a side of farming that we don’t adequately cowl, I’d like to listen to from you.

Perhaps you’re a grain dealer with some insights into farmer behaviour, a member of a authorities company or a farming union.

Maybe you’d like to speak candidly concerning the tenant/landowner relationship. There will likely be loads of different examples.

If you have got insights to share and also you wish to be paid for them, get in contact with me to study extra by emailing andrew.meredith@markallengroup.com.


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