This is certainly a first for me, writing my farmer focus article from the other side of the world. We have ventured out to Perth, Australia, for a good friend’s wedding.
It has been quite the experience flying out on Christmas Day on the non-stop flight from Heathrow and arriving to 28C-plus heat.
The wedding was fantastic, but I probably ought to provide an agricultural slant to what we have seen.
Firstly, there were a lot of Kiwis at the wedding, none of whom are out and out farmers, but as members of the public they were very well informed on agriculture and the dairy industry in their home country.
They were also incredibly interested in what we get up to – not something I am so sure can be said for the UK public.
Secondly, the quality of the food in Perth has been fantastic. Admittedly, it is pricey and would be compared with what we call ‘London prices’, but it is incredibly fresh and healthy.
Don’t get me wrong, I have heard the phrase soya milk in the odd coffee shop so they are definitely not immune to veganism. However, there is a real passion for fresh home-produced food, and more importantly a willingness to pay for that.
I appreciate Australia is a big country, but everything on the shelves is home-produced. And their prices go up and down to reflect the season and their ability to produce certain fruit and vegetables.
Thirdly, I heard an advert on local radio looking to raise money so that drought affected farmers could be supplied with forage.
The UK is much smaller and so moving produce around is much more achievable.
I just hope that somehow, we can find a way to really make the British public appreciate what goes into our farming industry.
I have no doubt that we can compete with anyone in the world in terms of welfare and food quality, but what we are lacking is a bit of patriotism. Perhaps Brexit may bring us this?
Read more about Shropshire farmer Henry Wilson