We like to be thought provoking and this issue of Farm Business has certainly given me, and I hope you, a lot to think about.
Our meeting with some of the most interesting people in the industry, reported on pages 16 and 17, produced a very strong view that things are going to change, dramatically, in the way farming is done over the next few years.
The technology, the regulation, the climate, the demands of consumers are all going to mount up and make the way you do your job different. A UK exit from the EU might change it even more. It’s worth a look at Richard Wright’s piece on the possibilities for a studiedly balanced view (page 14). I don’t imagine for a second that there is any chance at all of British politicians, representing a British electorate, deciding that any savings from payments into the EU should be diverted into agriculture. (Especially as the proponents of leaving seem to have promised them to quite a few other people at the same time.)
Richard’s also right to highlight the quality of UK regulation making. This is the country where it’s still illegal to copy your CDs onto your computer. What Britain is good at is gold plating. British regulation is dire.
I’m sure George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, doesn’t agree with me, or if he did, he wouldn’t put it in those terms. I haven’t asked him, but having listened to his thoughts on various subjects at our meeting, which he hosted, and, because of the basis of the meeting, not been allowed to quote him, I asked him for a thought I could quote. “I’m very proud that the UK Agri-Tech strategy recognises the commercial importance of UK food and farming and provides practical measures and initiatives to take world class UK science out into the field,” he said. “By unlocking the leadership in Agri-Tech for precision farming we can both attract new investment in new technologies and UK exports, but we also need an appropriate EU regulatory framework that supports and encourages the sector to grow.”
Editor, Farm Business