I wonder if the general public is aware that a farmer spends countless hours getting the land ready, from ploughing to drilling, followed by harvesting then probably even more time tending to his livestock.

We spend thousands on fuel, feeds, fertiliser, equipment, vets, repair bills, etc. We spend many hours praying for rain or sun instead of sleeping.

A farmer sweats more than he (or she) would in any other occupation, he works like most people wouldn’t, he gets yelled and sworn at by other road users who get caught behind a tractor travelling down the road and he spends many hours wondering if it is all worth it.

The paperwork, foxes, rabbits, deer, badgers, slugs, wireworm, etc are just a few pests to content with. Why do we do it? Ask yourself – Why?

The answers are all around you. The plate of food in front of you, the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet and most importantly, the love of the land, the love of all things agricultural, the soil, the dust, the muck and the satisfaction of knowing that at the end of the day you have “done your bit”.

It’s a way of life, but on too many occasions of late the Government has interfered and ensured farmers are unable to compete on a level playing field.

Over the past couple of months farmers have been holding rallies (AKA protesting) in and around the local area to raise awareness of three key points:

  1. Substandard food imports
  2. Honest food labelling
  3. Greater food security.

Eggs can be purchased in a well-known supermarket for 60p a half dozen; eggs that have been battery reared in Italy. How can any farmer make a profit when these substandard products are being imported and have been produced using a practice that is illegal in the UK. A fair and level playing field throughout the UK on imported food is the requirement.

The Red Tractor logo is prominent on food produced in the UK but equally it appears on all food packaged in the UK. Duck sourced from Thailand but packaged in the UK can also have a Red Tractor logo stamped on the product.

While the NFU supports farmers and, in many areas, excels, its involvement in the Red Tractor logo is vast (70% ownership, I believe) and should not be allowed to pass by unnoticed. The union must accept some liability for substandard products being packaged in the UK and gaining eligibility to carry the logo. The NFU seriously needs to review this situation and address it with immediate effect.

On 25 March farmers from all over the country are planning to drive tractors etc to Westminster to protest about the three key areas of importance. Fairness For Farmers is a group set up by East Kent farmers, along with other groups, to lobby the Government into taking some immediate action to prevent future food shortages or the country being held to ransom by foreign imports/producers.

The post-Brexit trade deals when they come into force will destroy our beef industry. At the moment 100,000 tons of Australian beef is in the pipeline, with the added threat of Canadian beef being planned by the Government. We need to act now to preserve the future of our farms.

Stay safe.