Opinion: A DIY strategic plan for farming starts now

A month ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos the prime minister set out his five-point plan to secure the nation’s long term future by making a success of globalisation.

It’s a suite of actions designed to show that the west is not written off yet, can make great products and therefore will export and grow again.

Jane KingJane King, Editor

The only gaping hole in this positive vision was that UK agriculture did not get a mention and didn’t seem to feature in it at all. This is a travesty given the role farming plays in wealth creation.

The latest NFU report “Backing the Business of British Farming” proves that agriculture’s contribution to the economy rose by a massive 54 per cent in the six years to 2012.  

While the manufacturing, service and construction sectors struggled in the recession, farming has delivered phenomenal value and rising output. Extreme weather and market volatility may have tested us but farmer resilience continues to shine through.

Amid all the optimism at the NFU Conference this week, the one underlying disappointment was the lack of any clear government strategy for the industry. 

There’s a bundle of initiatives but no real coherent way of fitting them altogether to stimulate growth.
Most farmers want less political interference in future but they do need government to set a framework for them to thrive. 

With so many opportunities now pointing the UK way, why wait for the politicians?  Isn’t it time the industry got organised to deliver its own strategic plan and then worked on convincing Government of its economic worth to the country?
The NFU may be losing one of the finest president’s it’s ever had in Peter Kendall but the new team that replaces him now has a chance to make their mark in this vital area.