NFU calls on Government and kicks-off campaign at Cereals Event

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A wet harvest could push farmers closer to breaking point, said NFU President Tom Bradshaw in a press briefing held by the organisation at this year’s Cereals Event.

Following months of disastrous weather coupled with high production costs, reduced farm support and low confidence across the arable sector, Mr Bradshaw said the resilience of farmers was being tested to its limit, as they could face crippling cash flow pressures over the next 12 months.

Speaking on the opening morning of the event (11 June), Mr Bradshaw stressed that without sufficient clarity on agricultural funding and support, the sector could be ‘sleepwalking’ into a crisis. He also highlighted the culminative impact on farmers’ mental health.

“If we have another wet harvest this year it will, without doubt, take a toll on their mental health and well-being,” he said.

With the general election looming (4 July), Mr Bradshaw called for the prospective governments to clarify their position on the level of support to safeguard farming businesses, food security, and farming’s future generations.

“We need clarity on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), as to how it is going to enable investment in food production while protecting the environment,” he said. “There are 70 million people living in the UK and investment in our food security should be an absolute priority for the next government.

“We also need to excite and attract the next generation to the industry. Are we going to be a museum of agriculture living in the past – or one that is driving the future?”

Prior to the Cereals Event, NFU combinable crops chair Jamie Burrows echoed similar concerns and highlighted how many farmers had been unable to get onto fields to plant crops, with many having experienced significant crop losses.

He described how it is now a ‘wait and see game in the run-up to harvest’ and that farmers are ‘in in the lap of the weather gods.

Mr Bradshaw also took the opportunity to acknowledge the positive work happening daily on farms to produce sustainable, high-quality foods that positively contribute to the UK’s net zero ambitions.

With that in mind, the NFU launched its sixth iteration of its #YourHarvest campaign, which aims to highlight to consumers the dedication of arable farmers across the UK by bringing harvest stories to life on social media.

The campaign will use videos and pictures across platforms to share what is happening on farm during harvest, helping to educate the public about the journey from field to fork while highlighting the challenges faced by British farmers.

The organisation is calling for farmers to get involved in the campaign by sharing pictures and videos during this year’s harvest on social media using the hashtag #YourHarvest.