And the rain still comes!

After that long dry spell in the summer, even into November, when the River Tarrant was still not flowing a drop of water, people would regularly say they had not seen it so dry when they came to visit us in the Tarrant Valley. Then it started raining and, my goodness, it rained from the 20th of October until the end of December. We had 23 inches of rain, half the total rainfall for the year of 2022, which was 40 inches in total. This is above average for us and it’s still relentless through the start of January.

Farmers always talk about the weather, apparently talking about the weather is a national sport, which is in the top 10 things you should know about UK culture. All joking aside, for farmers it is such a massive factor to running their businesses and looking after the animals. When we had that real cold spell, and it is looking like we could have another one, it was so hard making sure all the animals had water. Now we are struggling with them coping with the wet weather and the mud, especially the young animals that we are wintering on stubble turnips which is a winter feed. The crops that are growing for next harvest get water-logged which is not good for young plants, and causes serious issues for farmers.

Climate change and the extreme weather that farmers are having to cope with is causing so many challenges for all food production globally. I can’t stress enough how important it is for us to be growing our own crops to produce food for our tables here in England. Food prices are still soaring, and we should not be relying on imported food. Our government agriculture policy seems to be going backwards, it’s a disaster and a disgrace in 2023. Farmers need to make a stand, I personally hope they do as they need to get angry and stand up to what our government and supermarkets are doing to the agriculture industry, their livelihoods, and the generations of history.

Being in the hospitality industry as well as farming, I know people want to support British farmers and I always feel quite sad when I attend farming meetings and I hear farmers say the public don’t won’t to support us. I know people want to support British food and they want to support local farmers; it’s trying to get the right messages out there. The right prices are key, and the more you support British food the more competitive we can become. Labelling for people to know what they can trust again is so important, please make sure you read the country of origin when you are shopping in the large supermarkets as their labelling can be very misleading.

Farmers and food producers need to get enough information to help educate on what’s happening in the farming and food industry. People want to know, and they want to learn so let’s work together and make sure education is key.

Barbara Cossins

Love Local Trust Local, Rawston Farm Butchery & Shop and The Langton Arms