'We need a plan to feed the nation': NFU Deputy President to speak at Norfolk Farming Conference
Thu 27 Oct 2022
Deputy President of the NFU, East Anglian farmer Tom Bradshaw is calling on the Government to issue a 'plan of action to feed the nation.'
He is a guest speaker at the Norfolk Farming Conference, being held at the Norfolk Showground on 30th November. Brown&Co is one of the sponsors and co-organisers of the event.
Mr Bradshaw is calling on the Government to give some clarity to farmers amidst a time of turmoil.
"With the global impact of the crisis in Ukraine and rising energy prices, there isn’t a production country around the world that isn’t impacted. European production is going to be contracting and there is a very real risk of contraction in production in the UK.
“I think 2023 is looking worse than 2022 so how does the Government intervene to underwrite food production? Relying on imports to fill the gaps would be incredibly naïve and very risky. So, what actions can be taken?
The Government needs to outline a food plan, take responsibility for feeding 70million people living on an island. I don’t see that detail. Food production is not a priority.
“There needs to be a balance with protecting the environment and the same level of protection and importance given to food production.
“It’s not that food production is more important than the environment, because the environment is the most important stakeholder for the long term, but we also have to make sure we are producing people’s food.”
In outlining his call for action, Mr Bradshaw will be detailing at the Norfolk Farming Conference the current challenges being faced by local farmers. These include:
Climate change/Water resource
“We’ve had the worst drought for the last 50 years, it really is climate change in action – farmers are on the front line, so how do we build resilience into those businesses to mitigate the impact? What is the role of the Government in terms of long-term water storage and infrastructure?”
“This sector, like all others, is seeing huge price increases but avian influenza is crippling it. This sector has been incredibly independent and commercially focused but now it does need support from the Government so it can continue to thrive over the next decade.”
“Free range pigs in Norfolk is a big sector and this industry is 18 months into continued losses. We need fair, transparent supply chains willing to make sure there is a return for the primary producer. Consultation has gone on recently around contracts in the pig industry, there is a lot of hope, but it has to deliver otherwise there is a real risk we won’t have an independent pig sector.”
“Irrigated horticulture is a very important part of the Norfolk landscape and it is another sector under huge pressure. In the immediate short-term, I am working with Defra to enable flexible winter abstraction to fill reservoirs but in the longer term, there are huge challenges with irrigation licensing reform threatening the viability of some businesses.”
To hear more about the challenges – and also Mr Bradshaw’s discussion over possible solutions, you can hear him speak at the Norfolk Farming Conference.
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