Farmer Focus: 30,000-tonne ship importing corn an eye-opener

So Michael Gove has finally broken cover and published his ‘Agriculture Bill for a Green Brexit’.

Worryingly, as ever, the important details seem to be sadly missing, as is prime billing for food production. I keep asking myself: where do these politicians shop, if they shop at all?

‘Taking back control for farmers after almost 50 years under EU rules’ is a fine slogan, but UK-grown food has got to be central to that strategy. Just give us a glimmer of encouragement, minister.

See also: Delayed OSR disease threat good news for fungicide spend

Recently, while spraying a manganese/trace element mix on barley, a Freelander on the adjacent main road caught my eye.

The driver was frantically putting his window up, obviously to stop my nasty poison getting into his cabin. Then I spotted the cigarette between his fingers!

We certainly face an uphill battle to keep our crop protection products when the public reacts so irrationally.

Eye-opening visit

Just recently I had the opportunity to visit a 30,000-tonne Handymax Merchant ship. It was delivering corn from Ukraine into Teesport for ethanol production.

It was an eye-opener to see the working of a large ship at close quarters. Lots of technology, lots of investment and not much labour, moving goods around the world for not much reward, like a very large UPS delivery van.

We all came away from the Cefetra-organised trip realising how small the world really is for trade in agricultural goods.

Living in a very active village, it was really great the other night to see a full village hall listening to a retired couple who had caught the sailing bug and crossed the Atlantic.

They presented a fantastic film of their experience but what struck me most, as a farmer, was the breadth of the audience — from all walks of life and all, of course, in need of three nutritious meals a day.

I’m sure these people are all interested in what they eat. We need to get them much more interested in where it comes from and how it’s produced.

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