Our response to the National Trust

Footpath in Wilmington, East Sussex_12314

The NFU has responded to the National Trust's view on a reform of farm support. 

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The picture the National Trust is trying to paint - that of a damaged countryside - is one that neither I nor most farmers, or visitors to the countryside, will recognise. 

"Farmers have planted or restored 30,000km of hedgerows for example and have increased the number of nectar and pollen rich areas by 134% in the past two years. 

“Farmers take their responsibilities as custodians of the countryside seriously and most visitors to the countryside will be enjoying the natural environment and appreciating the views of rural Britain which have been created by farmers – including many of the landscapes showcased by the National Trust.

“In this debate we must not forget that food production is vital.  We should not be contemplating doing anything which will undermine British farming’s competitiveness or its ability to produce food.  To do so would risk exporting food production out of Britain and for Britain to be a nation which relies even further on imports to feed itself.

“In our view, food security should be considered to be a legitimate political goal and public good.  British farmers are proud of the high standards of production, traceability of the food they produce and high animal welfare.  British food production is the bedrock of the food and drink sector – which is the largest manufacturing sector in the country contributing £108 billion to the economy and employing nearly four million people.

“All our survey work shows that the British public wants to buy more British food and, interestingly, survey work also shows the British public believes farmers play a beneficial role in improving the environment at the same time.”


Last edited on: 04:08:2016

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  • Posted by: Brian SinnettPosted on: 04/08/2016 15:25:56

    Comment: Thank God someone at the NFU has enough energy to write an excellent reply to the National Trust's article in the Telegraph. My only worry is that I knew where to read it! Is there any hope of it any real nation coverage in the news papers? Brian Sinnett. Gloucestershire
  • Posted by: Richard Rawson Posted on: 05/08/2016 19:56:37

    Comment: The National Trust would do to remember that you cannot eat scenery !!
  • Posted by: m.w. littmodenPosted on: 05/08/2016 19:58:43

    Comment: Sadly we farm next to the national trust. am for ever having people knock on the door becuase of their tenants livestock issue,s . DEAD SHEEP. dead calves Sadly a major agricultural college. also their footpaths/ bridleways etc especially tree roots coming to the surface are never dealt with. Time they got themselves into order before trying to score points on the brexit vote. As to my position will put in a clause upon my death never to sell to them
  • Posted by: Michael KettlewellPosted on: 05/08/2016 21:42:57

    Comment: We have damaged the countryside by over dependence on agrochemicals and heavy machinery. We cannot deny it and much river pollution is down to us from runoff. The NT ideas have merit and perhaps British farming should major on the environment and flood prevention before food cheap production. We already import 40% of our food and we should stop trying to out compete low cost countries on price. The price of food needs to rise to be valued more and we should concentrate on the premium quality end.
  • Posted by: Nigel RomePosted on: 06/08/2016 07:52:36

    Comment: I thoroughly agree, British farmers should be proud of what they have achieved in this country. I hate to think what could happen if we relied solely on food imports, what good would wild flowers and pretty vistas do if for some reason we weren't able to feed our growing population. Not only do we work hard to produce food for the table we are also fierce custodians of the countryside following every rule and regulation thrown at us. We cannot go backwards we need to look forward to the future of farming, and all it will entail, with enthusiasm, determination and pride.
  • Posted by: Rosemary EadyPosted on: 07/08/2016 15:26:30

    Comment: The NT 'Dame' should remember that hedgerows were lost in the national interest during the wartime years years and the urgent requirement of land for food.
    It would be interesting to hear a word from the National Trust's own farming tenants of their ability to achieve rents for their farmland which the NT requires to sustain their properties and its holdings!!!!!
  • Posted by: Peter SummersPosted on: 08/08/2016 10:55:19

    Comment: The National Trust have clearly not given much thought to their statement. No payment on Arable land will mean no Rent payable on that land. As a Trust tenant,I recently had a meeting with The Countryside Project Manager. A new appointment. He mentioned Wildlife Corridors, More Public Access. Disappearing Soil. Sustainabiilty. Nectar + Pollen mixture. Wild Bird mixtures. Wild Flowers.
    It would have been better if we had this discussion after looking round the Farm as I have 15% of the Farm in HLS. In the nearly 6 years I have been in the scheme no one from the Trust has shown any interest in what I am doing. Several times some of the Hierarchy have visited the Estate but don't take the opportunity to meet the Tenants. Baffling.
  • Posted by: Roy CookPosted on: 08/08/2016 12:05:31

    Comment: It is also pretty clear that mega industrialised farms that forgo animal welfare for the sake of so called 'efficiency', or the use of neo-nicotinoids that are likely culpable in the demise of bees are not supported by the majority of the public and consumers. UK farming should seek to be ambitiously environmental similar to Denmark, which seeks to become fully organic. It's not just British food consumers want they also want food and farming systems that respect and enhance the natural eco-systems without so much reliance on chemicals that pollute water supplies as well as leaving potentially hazardous residues in all kinds food and drinks, including even bread (glysophate) and wines (chemical fungicides)!
    I'm an NFU member, but from most of what the NFU says you would never know they had any organic members at all, so biased is their output in favour of big agri-business and against organics!
  • Posted by: David AstorPosted on: 08/08/2016 16:43:08

    Comment: It is not part of Helen Gosh's remit to comment on farm subsidies. I have been farming for 36 years and it has never been as difficult as it is now. My single farm payment doesn't even cover my rent and, as we all know, the price of wheat is the same as it was in 1982.I am having to borrow significant sums of money to keep going. I was chairman of the CPRE from 1983-1993 and I know for a fact that the only way to keep the countryside healthy for all is for farmers and environmentalists and those who want simple access to the countryside to work together.

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