Another month has slipped by and we are still battling with the elements.
I think the farm is now so wet that it might break free from England and join the Isle of Wight, or preferably the Channel Islands, where I gather there has been less wet weather and no coronavirus.
Since the turn of the new year, it feels like we, as an industry, have been increasingly bombarded with how agriculture has got to change.
How we have to challenge ourselves to be more environmentally friendly, be custodians of the land and change the way we produce food.
We even had some idiot come out and say actually we don’t need farmers at all in the UK.
We are going to change as an industry and as the old, slightly annoying saying goes; “In order for things to stay the same, something has to change.“
Machinery is another industry with some serious questions to answer. The cost of a new tractor has risen by 20% in the past six years, but as farmers, are we earning 20% more from that machine?
So this got me thinking about the “other side” of agriculture, what I call the commercial agricultural world.
For example, feed companies, medicine companies, supplements, seed, spray, fertiliser and machinery manufacturers and all those other sectors that rely on farmers. Are they ready for change?
A lot of companies are thriving on the inefficiency of farming, but the clock is ticking for them. Take the feed industry, for example.
In my former life as a feed rep, there were 13 competitors operating in my little patch in mid-Devon.
Yes, 13 of us all running around trying to take the business off one another and persuade farmers why certain products are a better fit for their farm or needs.
As farmers get bigger and grow into more professional outfits, there just isn’t room for that. Surely consolidation is the order of the day if they want a sustainable future.
Machinery is another industry with some serious questions to answer. The cost of a new tractor has risen by 20% in the past six years, but as farmers, are we earning 20% more from that machine? Debatable.
It is about time that the agri-commercial world gets with the times and start developing a constructive path for farmers to work with them.
They need to look at where farming is going after subsidies and have a long, hard look at themselves.
As a farm, we see and deal with all sorts of companies, but we also see some that have an attitude of everyone for themselves, which is not going to get them very far in the future.
I was staggered by the comment about whether the UK needs farmers or not, especially coming from government.
What a way to kick an industry while it’s suffering from flooding and dire circumstances. But watch this space, because change is coming.
Let’s hope everyone can keep up.