Janette Prince is the West Midlands regional representative who sits on the organic forum.
She has recently won Dairy Industry Woman of the year award, and currently sits on the AHDB Dairy Board. She writes:
We all know those that think of organic and conventional agriculture as opposite ends of the spectrum. Organic is only one ingredient in the recipe for a sustainable food future and one method of farming within a very complex industry.
As Farmers, there are many sources of information, data and research that we can use within our business and the internet has brought global information right into the office. How we make use of all of that information will vary from person to person. Some organic farmers feel that our Levy Board, AHDB, do not do enough to provide information to farmers that is focused on organic and some will question the value in paying the levy.
Yes, I know some also question the usefulness of AHDB at all, but let’s leave that aside at the moment!
Within Cereals and Oilseeds, AHDB have used their Monitor Farms to bring together ideas and discussion for conventional and organic farmers.
Through the Farming Excellence Programme, AHDB Beef & Lamb have an Organic Strategic Farm which has an ongoing programme of events.
Market Intelligence for the organic sector is a little more difficult for AHDB to source, but in June this year, they were able to use some limited information to put together data on milk production and pricing- So organic does feature.
But maybe it is down to ourselves to instigate that step change required to see Organic become more mainstream within AHDB. We all like to think of ourselves as Ambassadors for our Industry/Sector, but maybe that role has to have a more internal face too. For example, we often tell our non-farming friends to ask for British in the supermarket, to highlight the need and desire for it.
So, the next time you want some organic data or some research, ask your local KE officer and contact AHDB directly at Stoneleigh. Attend some events on strategic and monitor farms and during discussions offer your organic view point on the topic.
Raising awareness of our requirements and what we can offer in return is for us all to highlight. Top level conversations between CEOs and trade organisations, I believe have little or no impact, but a noise from the grass-roots over sustained period of time may just work and as we know, it is not just ourselves that might benefit!