Back British Farming Day 2021 as it happened

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Back British Farming Day took place on Wednesday 15 September 2021. See how we celebrated in our timeline below.

Jeremy Clarkson joined the NFU and thousands of farmers and growers, MPs, celebrities and members of the general public to take part in the annual celebration of British farming.

The day began with a parliamentary drop-in, where swathes of MPs picked up their wheatsheaf pin badges to wear in Westminster to a debate on the future of British agriculture and, later on, Prime Minister's Questions.

On social media, farming champions across the nation used our free #BackBritishFarmingDay resources to publish videos and pictures of why they were proud to produce the nation’s food.

Our new report, British Food: Leading The Way, launched by Minette Batters in Westminster, clearly outlined what must be done for British farming to grow and thrive.

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice tagged us on Instagram. Sign our open letter to him calling for support on keeping food self-sufficiency levels high.

Thanks to all who joined in the momentous day designed to galvanise support from across the political spectrum and wider public.

Watch our #BackBritishFarmingDay video


3pm: NFU President Minette Batters' Q&A session with Jeremy Clarkson

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2:30pm: Minette Batters launches our British Food: Leading the Way report

NFU President Minette Batters opened our Westminster event with a speech to launch the new NFU report, British Food: Leading the Way.

In it, Minette pointed out that the government must back up its supportive words with real action, not just for the farming community but for the benefit of the whole country.

Defra announces exports support for food and farming on Back British Farming Day

Defra announced plans to help British farmers and food and drink businesses sell their goods overseas on Back British Farming Day. The exports initiative, launching later this year, includes:

  • Appointing more dedicated ‘agri-food attaches’ to act as representatives on the ground to unlock key markets across the world. This will build on the teams already working in embassies around the world.
  • Establishing a Food and Drink Exports Council to work collaboratively to expand our food and drink exports strategy. 
  • Strengthening our technical expertise as well as our farmers' and producers’ understanding of export markets to ensure that food and drink exporters are able to benefit from market opportunities.

Defra Secretary of State George Eustice said: "Our farmers are the lifeblood of our nation – producing home grown food and acting as stewards of our natural environment. We want people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British. The support that we have announced today, to mark Back British Farming Day, will enable our farmers and producers to take advantage of new opportunities and fly the flag for UK produce around the world."

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "British farming is at the heart of our trade policy. Today’s new measures will build the capability of our excellent international teams and having farming experts in post across the world will help our food and drink producers seize the massive new opportunities in the biggest and fastest-growing markets in the world. Our food and drink is among the best in the world and an independent trading nation we’re seizing new opportunities that were previously denied to us."

NFU President Minette Batters said:

"The NFU has long called for significant government investment which enables a partnership approach to international trade opportunities for British farmers.

“This is a positive step in the right direction and I welcome this new commitment to put people on the ground with the technical expertise to open up new markets. I look forward to seeing more detail on this proposal and working with government to boost our agri-food exports abroad.

“In line with other countries like Australia and New Zealand, it is crucial there are farmer representatives as part of the UK agri-food trade delegation. We have also always maintained that there needs to be government match-funding of industry investment in trade and export promotion."

Focus on self-sufficiency

"I am asking government to give a commitment that Britain’s self-sufficiency will not fall below 60%," said Minette. "We can’t be global leaders through our exports if we are reducing the amount we produce on these shores."

With government at the moment creating a policy for the future of British food and farming, and deciding what should get financial and regulatory support, it is important that it commits to ensuring British food production doesn't decline. 

"Our food report gives real and concrete ways that Britain’s food production self-sufficiency figure can even increase. Increasing that figure means we will be producing more food – both for a home and international market."

Help secure the future of British food

Add your support to our letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and ask him to keep food self-sufficiency levels above 60%.


Well-know faces share their support on social media

12pm: Prime Minister's Questions

It was good to see so many MPs wearing wheat pin badges.

In answer to MP Roger Gale's question, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he is "absolutely right about the importance of buying British and eating British. Our food is the best in the world".


9:30am: Westminster Hall Debate

The Westminster Hall debate 'Back British Farming Day and the future of domestic agriculture' kicked off early, led by Theo Clarke, MP for Stafford.

Many MPs voiced their support for farmers across Great Britain in the debate. See @NFUPolitical on Twitter for more highlights.


8:30am: Drop-in breakfast event for MPs

We gave them wheat pin badges to wear in Westminster to show their support for British farming.


Back British Farming Day 2021 kicked off early

The Sun launched into Back British Farming Day with a Jeremy Clarkson interview in which he urged readers to support British farmers and buy Red Tractor food.

Drumming up support

In the run-up to the event, thousands of NFU and Countryside members and Back British farming supporters used our  #BackBritishFarmingDay 2021 resources to start building awareness of the day on social media.

They used our Facebook frames, printable signs, Tweet suggestions and more to build support for the annual celebration of British farming and the contribution our farmers make to growing our food, caring for our countryside and protecting the natural environment.