Hundreds of farmers have gathered in Birmingham to attend the 2014 NFU annual Conference where speakers will tackle the big issues facing the agricultural sector.
Farmers Weekly decided to ask delegates: What is the biggest challenge facing your farming business?
Andy Foot, Bookham Farm, Buckland Newton, Dorset:
“There has to be a reduction in red tape and regulation which is putting a huge cost on the livestock industry at a time when it is losing support. We need a firm commitment to reducing red tape. Politicians have to be held accountable to the commitments and promises they have made to do so.”
Geraint Jones, Vanner Farm, Dolgellau, Gwynedd:
“The implementation of CAP reform is the biggest challenge and adapting to a new system. I’m not happy about a 15% modulation rate and it will have a negative effect. There are big changes ahead.”
Eifion Davies, Cynlas Farm, Bala:
“Our agricultural minister and his decisions are the biggest challenge. We understand his ideas about trying to be more efficient but to be efficient costs money and his is taking 15% off us [hampering investment]. The two don’t go together.”
Gillian van der Meer, Oak Bank Farm, Battle, East Sussex:
“Farmers are investing more in green energy, but companies are hiking up prices for energy and consumers are asking whether farmers could get rich off the back of this. The market could turn against farmers, who have invested in solar/wind technology.”
Tony Bambridge, Park Farm, Blickling, Aylsham:
“We must ensure that we retain the use of pesticides and also keep production levels at a high enough level – both to feed the world and to help fuel ourselves in the future.”