Farmer Focus: Backseat farmers should stand up for British farming

We have so many pigs ready on the field, we don’t know what to do with them.

Suddenly growth rates have taken a turn for the better following poorer growth during the summer – I wish it was Christmas right now.

But with spot pig price on the floor at the moment, it’s not the easiest time to find new customers willing to pay a premium. In fact, it’s task enough retaining our current customers’ loyalty when there’s so much cheap imported pork about.

It’s a seasonal normality that prices are at a low this time of year and these historically increase towards Christmas. However, it is a great concern given the Russian import ban.

Far from the desired relaxation of the ban, Russian pig farmers are being encouraged to set up high-output, intensive farms. Less reliance on exports to Russia could present serious future challenges for the European pig industry as a whole.

So I’d say now is the time, probably more than any other, to be promoting British. And I’m not just talking pork, I’m talking all sectors.

If you have a chance to educate people, do it. If you have a chance to go into a school to educate children on farming, and that buying British is supporting higher welfare standards, get in there and do it.

Don’t rely on somebody else to wave the British flag. I’m sorry to say it, but there are many backseat farmers out there relying on “somebody else” to push the British farming industry.

It’s the responsibility of every single one of us.

Groups such as Ladies in Pigs and Ladies in Beef do a fantastic job. If everyone in farming put in half the effort promoting our industry as these ladies do, I reckon things would be looking a fair bit rosier.

Many of them aren’t even in farming, yet have the passion and enthusiasm to promote our industry, while many farmers sit back and leave it to other people. It doesn’t take a marketing degree, it just takes passion, and if you ain’t got that, you wouldn’t be a farmer.

Anna Longthorp runs Anna’s Happy Trotters, a pork wholesale business supplying butchers, restaurants and farm shops with free-range pork from her family’s 2,100 breeding sows.

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