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  • Writer's pictureKatie Smith

Farmers Weekly: The View from Here

I wrote this piece as a response to Farmers Weekly’s ‘the view from here’ writing competition. I thought that it might interest some of you as I know that a lot of you are from the agricultural community. 

The view from here

It’s easy for us to forget sometimes when we are caught up in our everyday life, how much farmers do for us. When we are on our coffee breaks, when we are picking up our groceries from the nearest supermarket, or when we are sitting down to dinner. Those of us a little bit further away from the farming community, with high profile city jobs or busy families often don’t stop and think about what we are doing all the time and how farmers affect our day to day lives. Everyone is guilty of forgetting the odd thing, a dentist appointment, a promise to call someone back or even just to pick up a loaf of bread from the supermarket, so why is it so different when we forget to thank the farmers for all they have done?

It is often said that farming isn’t just a job, that it is a lifestyle and this is absolutely true. Farmers work 24/7 every week of the year whether they are helping out an ewe who is struggling to give birth, rounding up a herd of cows for tuberculosis testing or harvesting a crop into the early hours of the morning and they should be commended for it. The fact is, without farmers we wouldn’t have the lives we live today, and with the price of milk dropping lower than bottled water and the cost of growing arable crops nearing the cost they are selling for, farmers jobs are harder than ever.

As a student who lives in the city but is an active member of the young farmers, I get to see it from both perspectives. The struggling farmers and the busy city workers, I have the view from both sides. Sadly, the kids in the city are becoming less and less educated on what is happening in the countryside with regards to farming and general country life. If I went up to the people in the corridors of my school, most of them wouldn’t have a clue about the struggles of the dairy farmers, or the struggles of the general upkeep of a farm and probably wouldn’t ever find out unless they happened to stumble across something I had shared on Facebook or Twitter. The sad fact is, even then they wouldn’t think it had anything to do with them. The view from here, into the future, is foggy. We don’t know what the future will bring for farming and without the support of young people there won’t be a future. That is why it is so important to educate people on agricultural and rural issues. Teenagers need to be educated about it before its too late for them to make a difference. They should have the opportunity to make smart choices regarding the future of farming, as it is, after all, their future. The next generation of farmers will be vital to the people. Look at what has been accomplished already. Although controversial to some, genetically modified crops are making it possible to feed people off of the land in places where it wouldn’t have previously been possible. For young people facing decisions about what career they want to pursue, the number considering a future in agriculture is alarmingly low and the number that is looking to enter it from an urban background is even lower. There needs to be more of a choice for them to pursue agriculture or rural land management, something to set them up for an agricultural career. At the moment the focus is on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), but what about agriculture? Where the numbers are falling lower and lower each year. Where is the push for farming?

In order for there to be a future for farming, we need to get on board. We need all the support we can get for those who support us the most. We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, World Book Day even National Almond Day, but where is the appreciation for farmers and those who support them? Farmers, farmers wives or husbands, researchers, writers, marketing they all deserve more appreciation. So the view from here may not look incredible now but let’s make it incredible. Thank a farmer.

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