Three Counties Show: Food strategy ‘needs a lot of work’

12 July 2022

A crowded marquee at the Three Counties Show

Speaking at a reception on the NFU stand at the Three Counties Show, NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw told members that although the emphasis placed on production by the Government’s food strategy was very welcome, there was still a lot of work to be done.

“We need to make sure we keep pressing ministers so that we achieve sustainable food production alongside environmental protection,” he said.

“The pressure being placed on our businesses by rising costs is immense. When was it rational for people to buy a latte for £3 and expect a whole chicken to be delivered for £2.50?”

Region due to lose £884m

Meanwhile, research commissioned by the Great South West Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the NFU shows that the South West is due to lose just over £884m in the transition away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards a system of payments for ‘public goods’ like flood prevention.

A previous study showed that in 2020 the county received £39.5m in BPS payments. Adding the amounts due to be deducted from this sum for each year of the transition period (2021 to 2027) shows that the total BPS amount lost from its rural economy to the end of 2027 will be £180m.

Gloucestershire’s agri-food supply chain employs over 50,000 people, 14.9% of the county’s workforce, and in 2017 was worth £1.39bn, or 8.8% of the local economy. More than 70% of the county's land is under some form of agricultural production.

“When was it rational for people to buy a latte for £3 and expect a whole chicken to be delivered for £2.50?”

NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw

Certainty over incomes needed

Gloucestershire NFU chair Allison Ractliffe said: “We always look forward to the Three Counties, as it is a tremendous showcase for everything that our family farms can offer to the county.

“As well as top-quality food and some fantastic livestock, you just have to look at all the other traders who come to the show to see the impact that the money farmers have to spend has on the rest of the rural economy.

“To continue to act as the bedrock of that economy what we need is certainty about farm incomes in the future and that is in short supply at the moment.”


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