More than 30 Worcestershire farmers heard from the NFU Vice President at a county meeting where a host of pressing industry issues were put under the spotlight.
Farmer Tom Bradshaw addressed the Worcestershire NFU annual open meeting and called for a commitment from Government that Britain’s food production should not be allowed to slip any further – the country is currently 60% self-sufficient.
He also thanked county shoppers for their continued support of British produce during the pandemic and called for everyone to continue to ask about the provenance of food and drink.
The meeting on 30 November at the YFC Centre, at Hawford, saw Mr Bradshaw dial in virtually and he said there was a need for politicians to commit to self-sufficiency targets.
Earlier this year on Back British Farming Day the union called on Government to ensure that Britain’s food production should not be allowed to slip below its current level.
The meeting heard it was hoped there would be action in this area soon alongside a greater ambition from politicians to promote British food at home and abroad to aid food security.
Mr Bradshaw also spoke about a variety of other issues essential to safeguard Worcestershire farms and ensure agriculture and horticulture businesses have a viable, profitable future.
He discussed the need for there to be adequate access to skilled seasonal workers for all sectors, the continued push to eradicate bovine TB to safeguard beef and dairy herds and changes to farm support payments.
The work farmers are doing to produce food and enhance the environment alongside the industry push towards net zero was also raised.
The vice president also thanked Worcestershire shoppers for their continued support, and their on-going commitment to British produce.
“We have seen fantastic support from the British public for our farms and the food we produce,” he said.
“During lockdown this was shown when Polish mince imports sat untouched on the shelves, retailers realised they could not just trade their way out of a hole.
“I must say though that retailer commitment over the past 15 months has been much, much better and shoppers have helped by demanding more British sourcing.
“Now as we head back to some form of normality let us hope we do not lose the traceability and provenance of British produce - we all need to ask where our food comes from.”
Mr Bradshaw told members the NFU remained committed to ensuring British standards were not undermined by trade deals and would continue to make the case to Government.
He added though that trade would also play a big factor in keeping retail honest as new markets were developed, so there was a need for real ambition in export plans.
During the meeting he also thanked Worcestershire farmers and growers for their work on behalf of the industry including branch, county and national officeholders.
Rednal farmer Michael Oakes, NFU dairy board chairman, and apple and hop grower Ali Capper, of Suckley, NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman, were singled out for their sterling efforts for their respective farming sectors.