Star comment: Why we should be backing our turkey farmers
The impact of bird flu is becoming clear as we head towards the busiest time of the year for turkey suppliers.
The startling suggestion is that half of the free-range turkeys produced for Christmas in the UK have already been killed as a result of the epidemic.
Those producers who have avoided bird flu so far are living on a knife-edge - and one can only imagine how stressful this is. It is yet another unwanted twist of fate to round off a difficult year.
Worse still, as the public panics and tries to secure their festive dinner by buying a frozen bird, producers may find themselves with a higher number of unsold birds as people switch from fresh to frozen.
Our agricultural sector faces continued challenges. We have only to look at the milk-producing sector and the way it has been squeezed in recent years to understand the challenges. Post-Brexit, there are issues in respect of imports and exports, though, of course, there might also be new opportunities for some.
Farming is a tough industry and the turkey farmers who rely on this month to make their income for a year are facing the harshest of winters.
For consumers, it might be time to either secure a free range turkey, or, if that is not an option, to break with tradition and try something different.
We are fortunate to have many great producers around the region and now is the time to support local producers.Across Staffordshire, Shropshire and Mid-Wales, there are plenty of independents who require our support.
Now is the time to make sensible decisions as consumers as we look after those who look after us by backing the local economy.
2019 feels like a long time ago and a lot has happened since then.
But it seems strange to think that Labour went into the December 2019 General Election led by Jeremy Corbyn. It seems even stranger to think that when he lost in 2017, he notched up a moral victory.
His fall from grace has been rapid, though he remains popular with the left of the party.
It’s clear, however, that Sir Keir wants to take the party in a very different direction. Given the party’s performance in polls, it appears to be working - although there is still a long way to go before the next general election.
The nation needs a stable, functional Opposition, which can hold the Government to account.
The Labour Party might not sweep to power in the manner of 1997, yet it has adopted a centrist stance where Sir Keir will not pursue spend-easy policies.