Food and Farming

Those two words, food and farming are intimately linked.

Now, the UK Government is preventing Westminster MPs from voting on a House of Lords amendment to the Agriculture Bill.  Thus, the planned UK Trade and Agriculture Commission will not be empowered to protect food and animal welfare standard in the UK. 

An unending stream of underhand tactics, lies, rule breaking, shortcuts, manipulation and deceit power this Conservative Government. They are ushering in low standards, cheap imports and industrial farming practices that will be bad for animals, bad for humans and bad for the environment. 

The Agriculture Bill provides the legislative framework for the replacement of agricultural support schemes in place during EU membership. For some people, the Brexit project was about cutting red-tape in the belief that bureaucracy was the problem. So far, the post-Brexit world is presenting ever more complex bureaucracy producing poorer and poorer results at a greater cost than before. 

National Farming Union’s president Minette Batters said: “We have the chance to become a global leader in climate-friendly farming, and neither farmers nor the public want to see that ambition fall by the wayside because our trade policy does not hold food imports to the same standards as are expected of our own farmers.”

The coming week will test if this UK Government is united with the majority of the public and farmers in not wanting to accept lower quality food imports or doesn’t give a dam. 

Bath & West

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Thursday, I spent at the Royal Bath & West Show in Somerset. Remarkably, I’ve been going to agricultural shows for 50 years.  I was 5 years old when this show found a permanent home near Shepton Mallet.

My grandfather owned Yew Tree Farm which was next to the site. Yew Tree Farm House is on the left hand side of the road going up Prestleigh Hill on the A371.  Apparently they used to herd cows up Prestleigh Hill.  Now that’s steep.  However, in the 1950s-60s road traffic wasn’t anything like it is now.  Except maybe for one or two heavy quarry trucks.

Timekeeping for the farm was the sound of the steam trains echoing across the valley. That railway line was axed as so many were in 1965.

I have a childhood memories of the showground in the summer sun and in the pouring rain. As a boy I’d hop over the gate into the field used as a car park and into the show ground.  Then there were few permanent features.  The show was a sea of white tents.

What has changed? The long and the short of it is that it’s now not just an agricultural show.  In fact, farming is at the heart of what goes on but everything else is much bigger.  It’s a place where town and country meet.