26 June 2000
British farming – the first industry, yet the most neglected

I HAVE written letters to my local MP, Nick Brown and Tony Blair to try and get answers as to why they will not support British farmers in the way that they have supported other industries in this country that have fallen on hard times.

My local MP “Thanked me for my comments” – very helpful; Nick Brown obviously doesnt like home truths and direct questions that require a simple yes or no answer and responded with three pages of waffle and to finish told me that we cannot “dictate to our European counterparts – we have to adopt constructive discussion!”; and I am still waiting for a reply from Tony Blair who is obviously too busy chatting with schoolkids over the Internet!

I am 27 and I do not come from a farming family, I have worked on farms since I was 15, I graduated from Harper Adams with an HND in Agriculture in 1995 and am returning this year to study an MSc in Land Management.

Never once have I questioned “Am I in the right job” I am proud to do the work I do, but I am very concerned that other young people do not feel the same.

It seems that there is no one face that the public can associate with standing up for farmers.

Every time a “Celebrity ” pulls the oldest trick in the book – “Oh my popularity is dwindling. I know, lets stand up for the poor defenceless animals that cruel Mr. Farmer batters to a pulp every day”.

There should be a following article with a reasoned reply and this should happen all the time!

Admittedly some responsibility does rest with the farmers themselves as they have been penalised for keeping themselves to themselves, but this will have to change, otherwise the media will have everyone classed as a Dr Frankenstein, modifying all things bright and beautiful!

I think the right moves are been made within the farming community, but more needs to be done to educate consumers.
Susan Bicknell
Email:ForsterHallandSons@farmersweekly.net