This is the third year of the NFU’s #YourHarvest campaign. It provides an opportunity to reach out to the public and MPs to promote arable farmers’ positive contributions to food production, the farmed landscape and diverse habitats using social media platforms to inform and educate.
NFU combinable crops board chairman Matt Culley said: “This year’s #YourHarvest campaign comes at a critical time as the government is actively negotiating trade deals with some key agricultural producing countries around the world.
“We need to ensure that both politicians and the public appreciate the economic contribution our sector brings to the UK and understands the high environmental standards we produce to. It is in no one’s interest that trade deals are agreed that allow cereals to be imported grown using pesticides and other products that are illegal to use here.
Engaging with the public
“Over the last year we’ve all seen more people using our footpaths on farm and I think we have a great opportunity using the new field signs to inform the public about our crops and what they are used for.
“Few people sadly recognise what a field of wheat or barley looks like until it turns golden at harvest time, so I urge you all to either order or download the signs and place them prominently by footpaths, so the public better appreciate what we do.
Huge public support
“We’re currently seeing record high levels of support from the public for British food and farming, but I believe the #YourHarvest campaign gives us an excellent opportunity to promote what we do and how much of our produce ends up in their daily diet.”
How you can get involved in #YourHarvest
- Order your field signs today
Five what’s happening in my field signs have been produced for members to order as part of a trial. These cover the following farming activity:
- growing wheat
- growing barley
- looking after the environment
- grazing sheep
- grazing cows
11 field signs have been produced and available for members to download. As well as the five above they include growing oats and growing oil seed rape.
- Use social media to influence people
- Shoot videos and share them - your experiences are stories that need to be told.
- Share facts and stats – if you're proud of our industry, tell people what it achieves.
- Take photos of your field signs, use #YourHarvest and #WhatsInMyField
- Use the #YourHarvest hashtag – hashtags are a great way to make your voice heard.
- Post more stories – stories are a fun way of sharing the behind-the-scenes action on your farm. You can even do it on Twitter too with their ‘Fleets’ feature!
- Post images – the British countryside is a beautiful canvas.
- Tag your MP – make your voice heard in the corridors of power.
What do I talk about?
Consider creating a video for each of your crops based around the following questions:
- Introduce the crop.
- Provide examples of what products the crop can be used for- does your crop go into any well-known brands/products?
- Explain how what you do benefits/protects the environment- e.g., work to increase soil health, any tree/hedgerow management, wildlife encouragement, use of cover crops etc.
- Briefly describe the farming process for the crop you are talking about- when do you plant, what do you have to do to keep the crop healthy, when it is harvested?
- Describe why harvest is an important period for farmers and why it is important/relevant to the rest of the nation, eg, bringing in the core ingredients for many of the nation’s staple foods.
- Every year the UK produces over 20 million tonnes of grain providing home-grown raw ingredients for our food and animal feed.
- The UK produces over 4 million tonnes of flour every year.
- Sales of flour rose by 82% in 2020 due to lockdown baking.
- A hectare of wheat – about the size of a football pitch – produces an average of 7.5 tonnes of grain. That’s enough to make 11,500 loaves of bread!
- A combine harvester can do the work of 1,000 people.
- An individual stalk of wheat is called an 'ear of wheat' and each ear contains about 50 grains.
- 'Malting barley' is used to make whisky and beer (along with hops), with 50% of UK malt going into the whisky sector.
- The maltster demand for UK malting barley is around 1.9million tonnes each year.
- The estimated sector value of winter barley is £364m and spring barley £554m per season.
- 95% of cask ale produced in the world is consumed in the UK.
- Barley can also be grown for feed for livestock.
- Oats are mainly used as an ingredient in breakfast products, such as porridge, cereals and granola, as well as snack bars and even oat milk. They can also be found in animal feed, especially for horses.
- Oats have a lower nutrient requirement than other cereal crops so are a good choice for inclusion in arable rotations and are good for improving areas of poorer soil quality.
- The UK is fully self-sufficient for oats, with around 95% of the UK crop being exported to the EU historically.
- Oilseed rape is the bright yellow crop you see in fields in the spring.
- Oilseed rape has a higher burning point than other oils, so it is good for cooking, especially frying.
- Rapeseed makes a variety of products, including edible vegetable oils for cooking, animal feed, biodiesel and even printer ink!
- Once seeds have been crushed for oil, the bi-product is used in animal feed.
- Oilseed rape has colourful open flowers, making it extra attractive to pollinators and other insects and is a key food source in early spring.
- Farmers maintain 411,600km of hedgerows in England and Wales, a length which is enough to wrap round the earth’s equator more than 10 times.
- There are around 95,000 km of stone walls on farmland in England and Wales.
- Across Great Britain there are estimated to be 500,000 ponds.
- Of the total area of woodland and forestry in England and Wales (1.6m hectares) around 28% occur on farms.
Lights, camera, action
Top tips on how to be a pro recording your content
Golden rule: Be sure to film in the field of crop you are talking about!
What else to think about when you're shooting video with your phone:
- Ideally, ask someone else to film you
- Don't stand too close to the camera
- Make sure you fill the screen
- Don't move the camera too fast
- Beware of background noise
- Avoid windy locations
We have created two videos for members to use on social media to use alongside the new arable infographics. One of these is an animated version of our recent infographics:
The second is a video shows the bread-making process, from harvest to your plate. Throughout lockdown, thera has been a rise in the amount of baking at home. Sales of flour rose 82% during lockdown compared to the same period last year and the NFU wants to remind people of the important role that British arable farmers play in producing flour for the home-bakers:
You can find information for social media captions in the description of the videos.