Looking back on 2020, in reality, lockdown restrictions did not alter the daily tasks of stock farming.
Farming operations and related activities were exempt from the lockdown rules in order to ensure food security.
Stock still required the daily checks and needed to be fed. So, we were fortunate in that respect and we could go about our lives with minimal impact.
Farming lows probably are the same for every farmer every year – overworked and underpaid!
In all seriousness though, despite the pandemic, it has not been a bad year overall for beef and sheep farmers. The weather was kind over the spring and summer, allowing outdoor lambing to take place in shorts and t-shirts for the majority and a providing pit full of quality fodder.
Apart from the odd brief spike or drop in trade due to the pandemic shifts and Brexit talks, the price of beef and lamb has remained relatively strong and consistent throughout the year, which has been a blessing.
Costs do not seem to go down though, so it is unlikely we will see a greater return in our year-end financials.
I think farming is due a Christmas present this year, and it could come through social media.
One of the most topical issues surrounding the UK agriculture industry at present is the focus on the safeguarding of farming standards, following the recent agriculture bill vote.
We all know the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in the world, and it’s great to see celebrities such as Jamie Oliver use their celebrity status to promote protecting these standards.
If all pro-farming celebs could use their social media accounts to help our industry – post a few more influential posts and fewer selfies – it would only be positive.
With Brexit looming, we need more support from public figures to really push the promotion of British agriculture and the high-welfare standards we support.
Now is the best time to influence the consumers as over the course of the pandemic we have seen buying habits change – more people are buying local.
Let’s hope more celebrity figures back our corner and we can continue to produce food ethically and to be proud of.
Read more about Monmouthshire livestock farmer Livy Braid