Farmer Focus: Farm leaders must listen to all views

It’s still fairly wet here in the dry lands of the East. Despite the rain and occasional snow, here at Euston we have, thankfully, been muddling our way through the winter, managing to get on to the drier land to winter plough, prepare for planting, plant early carrots and continue with the sugar beet harvest.

So there is plenty to do while waiting for the reservoirs to fill and the big spring planting rush, as well as contemplating the onslaught of calving and lambing. In addition, I have been occupying my time picking up speeding points while rushing around the country to various meetings.

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These have included our local NFU branch meetings with MPs or candidates. As a branch we are very fortunate to lie within three separate parliamentary constituencies, so we get to meet a number of high-caliber individuals who are leading or are planning to lead our nation through the stormy waters ahead. Some seem to know what they are talking about, others we are not so sure about. 

These meetings have made me ask the obvious questions and consider the future of farming, including how these select or selected individuals represent our interests in the future.

One thing I can say is that those we have talked to have been prepared to listen and have attempted to understand our views, rather than adopt another form of mentality that appears to operate within certain sectors of the farming community.

Question is, how do the quieter ones among us react? Do we rely on those we don’t really agree with to set the policy for the rest of us to follow or do we make our views heard in another way? That’s a question I pose for those attempting to demonstrate true industry leadership. 

Those representing the views of the whole industry really need to pay clear attention to the views of all, rather than those who just shout the loudest or the longest.

Here’s looking forwards to seeing some of you at the NFU conference next week.

Andrew Blenkiron manages the 4,400ha Euston Estate, south of Thetford. Principal farm enterprises are combinable and root crops, including sugar beet. In addition the estate supports let land, sheep, outdoor pigs, poultry, suckler cows, horses and stewardship.

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