It’s Time To Back British Farming

Are you backing British farmers?

Supporting British farmers has never been more important, as the challenges they are facing are only increasing.

When discount supermarkets started to become popular, it created price wars, market share battles and constant pressure on supermarket buyers to deliver the lower prices consumers have come to expect. The problem is, this is continuing to happen when inflation is soaring and energy costs are sky high, and for farmers, the harsh reality is that we are the price takers. It’s the supermarkets that are the price makers, and we’re at their mercy and are being forced to take the prices that they dictate.

The result? It is becoming increasingly difficult for British farmers to continue to produce food for those living in the UK, and still make a living. Some British farmers have had a lifetime of business taken away from them, stripped of everything they know, how to earn a living, how to provide for their families, their heritage, and their legacy. All of this has disappeared in a blink of an eye because the retailer they had supplied for the past 30 years closed the door on them, because they couldn’t afford to produce the food at the unfair price the retailer set.

This has left us in the situation we now find ourselves in. Limited food supply because we are heavily reliant on imports. Farmers choosing to cover land in solar panels for a guaranteed return that’s steady and consistent, ensuring they have some security. The next generations walking away and choosing other careers because the industry with the long hours and low pay is so unattractive.

Yet there are so many benefits to promoting and supporting British farming, food security being number one. If British farmers are paid a fair price, and consumers are choosing to buy British, then this allows us farmers to continue to produce food within the UK, reducing the need for imported produce. This in turn, reduces the air miles and pollution caused from importing foods from other countries.

Supporting British farmers can also help safeguard the British countryside. Farmers own 71% of British land, and many understand the importance of the sustainable farming and protecting the local environment. Through them, we’re able to safeguard our countryside and ensure the highest standards of animal and plant health. This in turn also helps preserve the land for future generations.

It would be remiss of us to not mention the economic impact that the British farming industry makes. In 2021, the British agriculture industry employed 467,400 people across the UK. In the third quarter of 2022, the British agricultural industry contributed £3,585 million to the UK economy, and this industry now contributes £120 billion to the economy. 

In short, supporting British farmers gives us better food security and benefits the country both economically and sustainably.

How can you support British farmers?

Firstly, wherever you can, buy British. This can start with choosing to only buy produce that is in season in the UK, and that was grown by UK farmers. Be careful what you choose to purchase; just because it’s from your local shop or farmer’s market does not mean it’s grown in the UK. Ensure you check the labels and origin of the produce when purchasing. When buying items like conserves, honey, and chutney, check the label to ensure that the ingredients state they are British, e.g. British strawberries or English rhubarb, and don’t buy blended honey; this means it has been blended with water or cheaper, inferior imported products. Really educate yourself on the pitfalls of food labeling and how many lies they tell!

You can also put pressure on supermarkets to stock more British produce. If you notice a retailer is stocking in-season (in the UK) produce from other countries rather than buying them from British farmers, ask them why. Additionally, if they’re not stocking produce that is in season in the UK, ask them why. You can do this in-store and online, but they will only start changing their ways if their consumers are putting pressure on them to do so.

You can pledge your support in other ways as well. There are a number of initiatives and campaigns online, such as Back British Farming Day and British Food Fortnight, that you can share content from. You can stay up-to-date on the latest on these issues by following the social media accounts of farmers such as Annabel, and accounts such as those like the NFU. There are also petitions you can sign to pledge your support, such as the Back British Farming campaign by the NFU and the Get Fair About Farming campaign.

And finally, wherever possible, encourage your friends and family to do the same. Lots of smaller, impactful actions from as many consumers as possible will go a long way toward making a difference.

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