At this time of year Farmers Weekly often asks farm leaders what are their hopes and fears for the coming year. But this year we decided to ask FW readers and users of Farmers Weekly Interactive:
“My hopes for 2007 are to remain in profit and end the year with a slightly lower overdraft! I feel that this could be a deciding year for biofuels. I’m not sure if they are the saviour for British agriculture but they are giving some hope for arable farmers. We need to continue to market ourselves and our produce better in 2007. We also need to cooperate with each other more to open new markets and continue to educate the public to the benefits of better tasting, healthy British produce. I’m also hoping for feed wheat over £100, lower fuel prices, on time single farm payment, no new legislation, good weather, a drop in interest rates and winning the lottery…”
Gillian van der Meer
“To use the words of Elvis Presley I want to see ‘A little less conversation, a little more action’. This has to happen if farmers are really to connect with their customers. I attended a meeting recently where someone asked “Who are our customers”? I answered that easily – “Any one who eats is a customer”.
That means the farming community accepting that we have to do more than just talk about ‘reconnection’, and take action and go and talk to the urban multicultural community to engage them. That means going into the heart of the urban white / Asian / Black African/Caribbean city community, sitting down, talking with and listening to them. Then you can start to make headway with all consumers, and not just those within a certain radius of your farm or rural community.
Which begs the question, why was Smithfield moved out of London instead of being developed into a 21st century flagship food and farming event aimed at attracting the urban consumer? The French do it, why don’t we?”
“I hope that DEFRA will keep to its word and reduce paperwork and stop gold-plating Brussels legislation. But I fear that DEFRA will not keep to its word.”
“Wishes are no good, they very rarely come true. What I hope for is reasonable weather, a further slight rise in our prices and miracle-of-miracles no rise in our costs. Also, I want politicians to just once think before acting (not possible I know), stability in global trade and a taste for good beef and beer in China.
I also want the Americans to stop wrecking the trade talks and for the EU to stop giving them the excuse. It would also be nice to have a retirement scheme to give dignity to those who leave the industry and a bursary for those who study agriculture at university. Finally, I would like a year when I don’t get a phone call from the bank asking when funds will be deposited as my overdraft is near its limit.”
“My hopes for 2007 are better commodity prices, less red tape, decent weather and the single farm payment to arrive early. I have some old paperwork showing feed wheat prices in Februray 1974 as £61.50/t delivered. Prices have improved a bit this season, but 12 months ago prices were not much higher than 31 years previous. Farmers are being robbed, it is time farmers took a stand and raised cereal and dairy prices to a sensible level.”
“My hope is for the biofuels industry to take off. This will provide a huge new market for the farming industry which is exactly what we need. We have been stuck with prices of £60-80/t for cereals for the last 35 years (except for a welcome rise in the early to mid 1990s). Ask anyone else how they would like it if they received the same pay today as they received 35 years ago! I expect the government will land up with the problem of food versus fuel. I also don’t think that the fuel industry will support a large increase in the price of cereals. I do hope that the beef and lamb prices will go up to at least cover the increase in price of concentrates. Interesting times ahead!”
*What do you hope for in 2007. Let us know on our forums