Farmer Focus: Virus shows true value of British farmers

I never thought I would be writing a Farmer Focus with a global pandemic in full flight on British shores. I think we are all still in shock. This virus is capable of bringing the world as we know it to a standstill. 

The 2008 recession was awful, but never has something had such an impact across all sectors. This virus will have far-reaching economic and human affects with thousands of people dying.

Where does farming stand in all this? Ever the optimist, there is inevitably going to be volatility which we have already seen in recent days reflected in feed prices and the topsy-turvy lamb price. 

See also: Coronavirus: Advice for vets and farmers

This must lead to question marks over supermarket power and the price farmers receive. I have heard numerous comments from farmers and processors who have defended the very sparse nature of the supply chain, simply because there isn’t enough money in the job to run it with any fat left over.

It is sad that it has taken these tragic circumstances for people to realise the fragility of our supply chain. The disappearance of vegans from my social media feed has been welcome, though.

In a few short weeks we have gone from a government adviser saying farmers are not needed, to us now becoming key workers. This is further recognition that farmers are vital to feed the nation, and everyone is doing what they can to step up to the plate, just as they have done in the past.

Getting behind the new Farmers Weekly #FeedTheNation campaign is a must. We now have an opportunity to showcase how we are doing our bit and promote agriculture in a positive light. 

Muller says demand for milk has increased significantly. Let’s hope it continues and this can be shared out down the supply chain.

Thank god the weather has turned. Us farmers are lucky in that our lives have been relatively uninterrupted by the lockdown scenario.

The fertiliser spinner is on and the place is greening up, the floods are almost forgotten and it was good to see that Shropshire had been included in the recent round of government flood damage funding.

Stay safe and do take the situation seriously. We need a speedy conclusion to this awful situation.

Read more about Shropshire farmer Henry Wilson.