Countryfile presenter Adam Henson backs our Fair Deal for Farmers campaign

Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson has backed the Shropshire Star’s Fair Deal for Farmers campaign.

Adam Henson
Adam Henson

Mr Henson, who has his own farm in Gloucestershire, said it was vital that the British people understand more about the work of farmers in their area.

The 50-year-old said: “It is important that people learn more about farming and the environment so they are able to see how they produce good food.

“People are becoming more and more aware about the importance of localism and supporting local producers and knowing where food comes from.”

He has followed in the footsteps of his Lambing Live co-star Kate Humble, who also threw her support behind the campaign.

The Fair Deal for Farmers campaign has been set up to highlight the importance of agriculture to our region. We have created an online directory of businesses that directly support farmers in the region.

Mr Henson was speaking after addressing the annual general meeting of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, held at the Assembly Rooms in Ludlow, where he gave a talk about his life as a farmer, following in the footsteps of his father Joe.

He particularly focused on the importance of balancing conservation with farming, the changes that have been taking place in the agriculture industry and the way modern day farming is changing.

He said he was a big fan of Shropshire and its “diverse” nature, declaring: “If I was going to farm in any other county, it would definitely be Shropshire.”

Adam Henson
Adam Henson

Mr Henson, who was taking a break from his television work and jobs down on his Gloucestershire farm to speak  at the meeting.

He took the opportunity to promote the role of farmers in looking after the British countryside – and also backed the Shropshire Star’s campaign.

But, overall, he spoke of his love for Shropshire.

He said: “I’ve been here a few times with Countryfile to the Ludlow Food Festival and other things so I’ve been through a lot but I think it is a really gorgeous county.

“It is so diverse, I love it. If I was going to farm anywhere except Gloucestershire it would be here.

“If you live in Shropshire, I’m very jealous of you.”

Mr Henson, 50, spoke to a crowd of about 100 members and non-members of the wildlife trust when he took to the stage in Ludlow.

There he spoke about the importance of those working in agriculture to look after the environment, saying: “I see farmers as conservationists.”

The idea of protecting nature is nothing new to him, he took over Bemborough Farm from his father, Joe, who collected rare and traditional breeds of livestock which went out of favour with the agricultural community.

A founder and chairman of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Mr Henson senior also founded the Cotswold Farm Park, one of the country’s first public attractions of its kind and something still run by the Henson family and attracting 100,000 people to see some of the rare breeds they rear.

Mr Henson said he was totally behind the Shropshire Star’s Fair Deal for Farmers Campaign, which has created an online directory of businesses that directly support farms in our region.

Mr Henson said his father saw the “importance of localism” very early on and the group he founded saved some traditional British pigs, sheep and cows which otherwise may have been lost – and which now are coming back into favour, like the Gloucestershire old spot pig.

Addressing crowds at Ludlow’s Assembly Rooms, he said more people should also look for the Red Tractor label on their foods, which guarantees a British product raised to the country’s standards.

He said: “People need to think more carefully about what they are buying and where it comes from.

“Farmers need to be able to develop their sustainability through cash, being able to make money which can buy new technology, allow them to invest in their business and means there will be no need to cut corners with things like animal welfare.

“I wish careers advisers would recommend farming and agriculture more because there is something for everyone, from nano-technology, designing the computers that go into our machinery, to agricultural law and finance.

Colin Preston, chairman of the wildlife trust said they were delighted to have Mr Henson to speak, as balancing conservation and farming was one of the biggest issues the group faces.

He said: “It has been excellent and we’ve had a really good turnout.

“We live in a rural area and balancing conservation and farming is one of our biggest challenges so the speech was very relevant.”

In his speech, Mr Henson added: “Conservation and farming need to work hand in hand.

“Brexit is a scary concept for conservation because many of the subsidies that farmers get for it may be removed and we really need to campaign to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We are here for such a short geological period, I think we need to leave the land in a better way than we fund it.

“Groups like the Shropshire Wildlife Trust do education about conservation very well.

“British people are much more engaged with what is going on in the countryside.

“I think the UK is a wonderful place nad I am very lucky that I get to roam around the British Isles and see what amazing places we’ve got.

“Farming is on the crest of a wave and we have got some good times ahead.”

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