A huge “thank you” to the public for supporting Back British Farming Day

13 September 2023

Back British Farming lapel pin made of British wheat and wool lying on stone wall

Britain’s farmers and growers are saying a huge “thank you” to the public for the overwhelming support shown for the unique role they play in feeding the nation and caring for the great British countryside.

Today is the 8th annual Back British Farming Day and a celebration and appreciation of a job ranked by the British public as one of the most important and well-respected professions, second only to nursing, according to an NFU survey.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Britain’s farmers and growers are truly inspirational, and it is heart-warming to know the public really value the work we do in producing fantastic homegrown food. This food underpins the British food and farming sector and is worth more than £100 billion to the national economy, all while protecting and enhancing our iconic landscapes.

“As these survey results show, the public really appreciate what Britain’s farmers and growers do day-in, day-out. 90% of the public feel farming is important to the UK economy while 81% agreed that British farms should grow as much food as they can to provide national food security.

“We really have some of the most forward-thinking, productive and innovative farmers and growers working across our sector. Despite the challenges being faced by everyone this year, we are still doing what we do best – producing great tasting British food.  On this Back British Farming Day, we appreciate this public support more than ever and want to say a massive thank you to everyone.”

And it’s not just the public showing their support. Today’s celebrations start in Westminster with a breakfast reception at the House of Commons. More than 100 MPs are expected to attend, where they will be given a wheatsheaf pin badge, now an emblem of the day, to wear during Prime Minister’s Questions to show their support.

MPs will also hear that, according to a recent NFU survey, 87% of respondents support increasing self-sufficiency in UK food production.

Mrs Batters added: “This is a clear message that the public backs our calls for government to prioritise homegrown food production and legislate to ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency does not drop below its current level of 60%.

“We’ve had everything thrown at us over the past 18 months – soaring production costs, global market instability caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, extreme bouts of weather and significant delays to farm payments. The empty shelves we’ve seen this year speak for themselves; we need to be producing more of our food here.

How you can get involved on Back British Farming Day:

The NFU wants the whole country to get involved today by commenting and sharing content using the hashtag #BackBritishFarmingDay and telling us why you support our brilliant farmers and growers.

Follow the NFU on Facebook - @NFUOnline, Instagram - @NFUCountryside and @NFULife, TikTok - @BackBritishFarming_ or Twitter (X) - @NFUTweets.

“Now is the time to ensure those policies are in place to support the production of quality, climate friendly, homegrown food. As we’ve said before, government has statutory targets for the environment – why can’t food production have the same status?

“Fundamentally, investing in domestic food production means we can increase our productivity, create more jobs and deliver much more for the economy and for the environment.

“We know we have huge public support – we now just need our politicians to also back British farming like never before.”

More information

  • Back British Farming Day is on Wednesday 13 September. Join the Back British Farming Day celebration by using the #BackBritishFarmingDay hashtag on social media.
  • 2000 adults in England and Wales responded to a OnePoll online survey for the NFU between 30 May and 6 June 2023. Of 10 occupations, farmers ranked 2nd in favourability with 47% of respondents – up from 4th in 2022. Nursing ranked number 1 with 65% of respondents. Meanwhile, 87% support increasing self-sufficiency in UK food production. This compares to 80% when we first asked the public in 2022.
  • The wheatsheaf pin badge is made of wheat sourced from farms across the stunning Shropshire countryside and wool from Devon’s Blue Face Leicester sheep.
  • The UK’s self-sufficiency through the years:
    • 1960 – 52%
    • 1970 – 57%
    • 1980 – 72%
    • 1984 – 78% (this is the UK’s highest self-sufficiency figure, according to available data)
    • 1990 – 74%
    • 2000 – 67%
    • 2010 – 62%
    • 2017 – 62%
    • 2018 – 60%
    • 2019 – 61%
    • 2020 – 60%
    • 2022 – 60%