Shropshire Star

Campaign to highlight importance of harvest after months of disastrous weather

County farmers are being asked to showcase cereal crop production on their farms and back the #YourHarvest campaign.

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The campaign will highlight the hard work and dedication of arable farmers across the country by bringing their stories to life on social media.

Videos and photos will explain what is happening on farm during harvest, what’s being grown in the fields, how crops are being used, and how the produce ends up on people's plates.

As the British arable sector gears up to celebrate its significant contribution to the nation’s economy and food production, the NFU is calling on the next government to further support those farming businesses hit by some of the most challenging weather conditions in living memory.

Confidence across the arable sector is at an all-time low. This follows months of wet weather and horrendous flooding combined with high production costs, ongoing market volatility and against a backdrop of reduced farm support.

NFU combinable crops board chair Jamie Burrows said: “Arable farmers, like everyone, have faced a miserable last six months of continuous wet weather which has led to devastating flooding and thousands of acres of productive farmland affected.

“Many of our members have been unable to get onto fields to plant crops and those that did manage it have lost much of what was already in the ground. For those that have planted, it's now a wait and see game with what the summer holds. We literally are in the lap of the weather gods.

“It’s great that further measures were announced recently to ensure more arable farmers are getting the support they need to recover and rebuild, such as widening the scope of the Farm Recovery Fund.

“But we want to see whoever wins the general election instigate further practical policies that will allow the nation's arable farmers to boost home-grown food production and our important work in protecting and enhancing the environment.

“One measure that would help is the introduction of the NFU’s proposed Farm Business Investment Loans (FBILs) - these would enable many farmers and growers to not only weather the current, highly volatile commercial conditions, but crucially, invest in their farming businesses to become more resilient in the future.

“We will be taking the opportunity in the next few weeks to speak about this with candidates from all political parties as we promote the NFU’s election manifesto, so they understand the importance of UK food security.

“Being such a tough year makes this year’s #YourHarvest campaign more important than ever. With combines preparing to roll within weeks, we will be celebrating across all social media platforms everything that is great about harvest; the amazing crops we grow like wheat for your bread or barley for your beer and thanking the public for backing British farming and the continued support in buying high quality, sustainable food.”

Midlands NFU crops chair Peter Gadd said farmers in all counties across the region had witnessed a challenging six months due to the very wet weather and he welcomed the launch of #YourHarvest.

“The Midlands region has been one of the worst affected areas across the country following the winter storms and persistent wet weather into the spring," he said. “The next 12 months will be critical for many businesses with cash flow tight on our family farms and with the election ahead we need to see clear farming commitments and action from the next Government to help safeguard agricultural businesses.

“I’d urge farmers to continue to make the case to all prospective parliamentary candidates ahead of the election if they haven’t already and back the campaign too, which is a real opportunity to showcase food production at this time of year.”

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