Specialist expertise, dedicated support
At Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank we’ve a proud history of working with generations of farmers and rural communities.
Our regional heads of agriculture and the UK wide team of agricultural managers have hundreds of years’ experience between them.
They know and understand the farming sector to its roots, which is why you can rely on them to help you achieve your business goals.
These are unprecedented times for our nation.
We have quickly seen a huge change in the way we can operate, at work and at home, and one essential that has impacted on everyone, is our food supply.
In recent years, we have taken the food we eat largely for granted, but empty shelves in the supermarket have highlighted the importance of the food chain and the vital part British farmers play in producing our food.
We have gone through many years of plenty, making UK consumers think less about where their food actually comes from.
Brexit discussions mirrored this, with any talk of food security in this ‘plentiful world’ played down.
British farming was described as ‘not important’ by one government advisor.
It was even suggested that we could just import all our food more cheaply from abroad.
Although farming now represents less than 1% of GDP, and this may have some economic resonance, the critical importance of food to us all, makes it much more important than just its pure economic worth.
We must not forget the larger food production sector it supports.
Empty supermarket shelves have made us all think about where our food comes from.
As such, it is vital to remember that it is our British farmers, in conjunction with the thousands of food processors and suppliers, who are working around the clock to replenish the high-quality food we depend upon.
They ensure that next day shelves are stocked with the bread, milk, vegetables, cheese, meats, eggs and flour that accounts for the core of the nation’s diet.
Our farmers have done a fantastic job providing high-quality food at incredible value for money.
The average household spends 8% of its overall income on food, one of the lowest in the world.
So it is no wonder we have taken our food supply for granted, eating less at home, and consuming more through restaurants and takeaways, where unfortunately its provenance is often lost.
Thankfully our farmers are incredibly adept at dealing with challenging situations – they have stepped up supplies, worked with supermarkets to get high-quality food back on the shelves and fed the nation.
The farming industry constantly adapts to change and is innovative in doing what it does best, producing top quality food, to some of the highest standards in the world, at great value for money.
As well as the immediate challenges Covid-19 presents, farming was already adapting to life outside the EU.
It was building on its environmental credentials with the Net Zero commitment by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Government’s timescale – building on existing commitment to look after the land and our amazing rural landscape.
Like all sectors, as buying patterns change, for some businesses there will be consequential financial effects.
Hopefully, all agricultural sectors can come through this unprecedented situation, and look forward to a more considered longer-term view, one which acknowledges how important local food is and how critical it is to be able to sustain a successful UK farming industry.
Additionally, people need to recognise that imports can complement what is produced at home and not replace it.
As a bank, we recognise the long-term nature of farming and know it is an industry which needs to be supported and nurtured as it is sector which plays such an important part in all our lives.
Our UK wide team of Agricultural Managers, here at Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, are all working from home, keeping in contact with our customers and providing support where needed.
This is a great industry to be part of and we need to learn the lessons from Covid-19 in relation to food supply and make sure we continue to have a successful and world class farming and food industry in the future.
Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation during the coronavirus crisis.
With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.