Tom Chanter: Once-in-a-lifetime chance to get change we need

Every now and again, in times of uncertainly, an opportunity can present itself. You don’t need me to tell you that farming is an uncertain game to be in, often with no clear winners or losers.

Everything can be uncertain, from next week’s weather (which, at the time of writing, looks okay) to life in farming after 31 October (which, at the time of writing, we don’t have the foggiest idea about). 

However, recently I think we have been presented with a fantastic opportunity and it is one that I urge anyone with even the slightest interest in food, farming or rural affairs to get involved with, by having your say.

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Defra has launched a project called the national food strategy, and, to quote the restaurant entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, who will be gathering the evidence: “This is the first time the national food strategy has been reviewed in 75 years.”

I’m fairly amazed that our strategy for food production hasn’t been properly reviewed in such a long time, but then, the more I work in agriculture the less I am surprised by things such as this. We’re an industry that has been neglected with no clear, common focus so it is well and truly time for a review.

Agriculture’s mad economy

This call for evidence is an amazing opportunity for food producers, processors, retailers and consumers to have their say.

What’s working well? What’s a disaster? And how can we fix what feels like the coming farming apocalypse? These are all things they will be looking for opinion on, but it needs to come from us.

If, like me, you feel that riding the ups and downs of agriculture’s mad economy is ridiculous, then say so. If you reckon the supermarkets have way too much control and there isn’t enough room for small producers, then suggest a plan.

Not having your say in this is a wasted opportunity. We stand at a crossroads in food production, and we need to make sure we go in the right direction to ensure future generations have sustainable farms and a decent market for their products.

I know one suggestion that I will definitely be making – to review the nation’s food strategy more regularly than once every 75 years.

Your turn

Have your say on the national food strategy by going to the Defra website.