This week saw the return of the NFU Conference, and what an excitement it was to actually have to travel to a conference rather than log on to Zoom! Over the course of the two days there was a buzz from the 1,400 farmers and industry representatives gathered in the various rooms, really demonstrating how important it is to have these face-to-face networking events.
British Farming: A blueprint for the future
If you haven’t already seen, the theme of this year’s conference was ‘British Farming: A blueprint for the future’ - a document from the NFU setting out its plan for a resilient, sustainable and productive agricultural sector. Throughout the event NFU President, Minette Batters, called for industry and government backing to ensure British farming excels in the future. It’s well worth a read if you haven’t already.
I have to say there was a very sombre tone to this year’s conference. Minette’s frustration with government was absolutely evident from the start, which shone through later in the day during the session with George Eustice. One example was Minette’s devastation at what has happened in the pig sector. She mentioned numerous times that government can’t keep snowballing into these crisis’s, and need to take preventative action beforehand to stop them from happening.
Role of communication
A consistent theme across several of the speakers was the role of communication in agriculture. Farmers, and the industry, were encouraged to ride on the back of series like ‘Clarkson’s Farm’, and use social media to share positive industry messages. Shouting about the positive work farmers do to produce food could help to gain public support and put further pressure on government to safeguard this valuable industry.
Ending the conference, Minette mentioned the resilience of British farmers and the determination to keep fighting for what we believe in. She also talked about the huge opportunity the industry has in leading the net zero ambition. But it’s clear that going forwards, we need to make sure everyone is working together towards the same objective.