FW Opinion: Join us for gloom-busting celebration of UK ag

If you look for it, you will always find gloom in one part or another of the farming sector.

I’m not sure if farmers are gloomier than people in other occupations, or if I simply spend more time listening to their grievances – some of which are, of course, entirely legitimate.

It has even been said in some quarters that Farmers Weekly plays a role in spreading this gloom around, with some heard referring to the magazine instead as the Yellow Peril.

You won’t be surprised to find our team dismissive of such claims.

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Andrew Meredith
Editor, Farmers Weekly

E: andrew.meredith@markallengroup.com
T: @Merry_Meredith

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There will always be concerning articles, such as the fears being raised this week over disruption to the trade in live animals, and it is right that we provide a warning of trouble ahead where necessary.

However, most of the team spend much of their week filling our pages, podcast and website with practical solutions to farm-level problems and driving the debate forward on the big issues of the day.

This includes the feisty discussion over what the future of Red Tractor should be, which has caused a bumper postbag this week.

To those who still hold the view that too much gloom abounds, might I suggest part of the problem is modesty?

Many farmers shroud their achievements from all but their nearest and dearest, and this contributes to the impression that mediocrity prevails in the sector.

This is a shame when those same farmers have very little to be modest about. They produce food products to impeccably high standards and each year they do a bit better than the year before.

The rest of the food sector champions marketing over modesty, so why shouldn’t the primary producer too?

The farmer-funded Welsh levy board Hybu Cig Cymru this week reported a surge in lamb exports to the Middle East, after many painstaking years of work building a market in the region.

Trumpeting the quality of what we produce to consumers has helped drive a remarkable 8.8% growth in the total value of lamb exported in the past 12 months, even as volumes dipped.

Identifying and celebrating the best farming processes, as well as the product that allows this wealth to be created, is why the whole team at Farmers Weekly is incredibly proud of our annual Awards.

It is how we contribute to championing everything that’s great about farming, both to farmers and a wider audience.

As journalists, the annual task of visiting farms of every type across the UK renews our focus on the latest methods being deployed to improve margins, satisfy customers and care for the environment – the task of every stakeholder, not just some farming elite.

We do not seek to put winners on an unreachable pedestal, but hope that you recognise many of the qualities in the winners as being ones you possess too, and are buoyed by that.

The culmination of this process is, of course, normally the glittering awards night.

Packing 1,000 cheerful, black-tie-clad farmers and sponsors into a hotel in Mayfair for the ceremony clearly wasn’t possible this time, but we’re tremendously excited to reveal the category winners online over five nights next week.

This week-long celebration of British farming will not just feature our finalists, but royalty, razzmatazz and representation from every corner of the country.

I hope you will join us for what promises to be a great event.

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