Are protests the only answer?

Watching the Olympics opening ceremony and the celebration of the Suffragette movement, reminded me that we have a strong history of protests in this country.

And perhaps the recent success of the milk protests could be the start of a kind of Farmer Spring against our processors and supermarkets. I do, though, realise farmers’ problems are nothing in comparison to the sacrifices made by people risking everything for the right to vote.

Why, oh why, though does it take blockades to get anything done? If one of the businesses I supply drops me for another supplier, I do not set up a demonstration outside their pub, for instance.

Protest though, seems our only recourse, and desperate times seek desperate measures, and a slight readjustment through the supply chain coupled with us keeping our productivity up could keep us in business. Please do not kill the golden goose.

Back at Kenniford, we have combined the barley, baled and stacked the straw, and we are awaiting that elusive high pressure system overhead for the wheat. The pigs are helping out with feed price rises by performing well, growing quickly and having large litters. Planning permission is being submitted for our refurbished finishing unit and due to the feed price crisis we are looking at the feasibility of a wet feed system, using byproducts, to keep us in business.

Andrew Freemantle farms 300 sows on 28ha near Exeter, Devon. He sells 130 pigs a week, with 85 going to abattoirs and the rest supplying their farm shop, pork wholesale business and catering trailers. Andrew was 2008 Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the Year.

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