Comment: National Food Strategy could be a great opportunity to boost self-sufficiency

By Matt Donald, pig & poultry farmer, north Yorkshire

August has seen harvest out the way, yields both in the area and nationally seem positive, being a much larger purchaser of cereals than a seller, long may this low price continue! We have had one unit on turnaround, an extra couple of weeks has allowed us to get on to of any maintenance that has needed doing. We have replaced some older drinker lines with low flow nipples following a trial, this is improving litter quality in the shed and the environment for the birds.

The recent announcement of the review of the National Food Strategy is a fantastic opportunity for us as poultry farmers to have our say on how we get the food we produce, to the fork of our consumer. In my opinion, the new policy must ensure education is high on the agenda, educating school children about how and where their food is produced is key.

It was fantastic to see recently that the NFU transformed a London school into a farm for a day. More of this must happen under the new review. Giving inner city children the chance to experience what happens out on farms, could go a long way in improving the appreciation consumers may have for the work that has gone into the food we eat. As well as prove the point farmers are not there to ‘harm the environment’ which we seem to get a lot of blame for at the moment.

In order to secure future production and increase the UK’s self-sufficiency then their needs to be policies in place to educate young people on what agriculture has to offer, this will fuel the supply of people wishing to work in the industry. All aspects of agriculture must be shown, from the farm to processing to retail, more must be done to advertise this industry as ‘sexy’ and appealing to work in.

Poultry is at the forefront of agriculture as attractive and modern, we just need further ability to prove this without the worry of action against us if we open our doors to the public.

 

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