Herefordshire farmers are saying a huge “thank you” to county people for their overwhelming support of the work they do to feed the nation and care for the countryside.

Farmers and growers in and around Ross on Wye marked Back British Farming Day¹ (13 September) to celebrate food production and the public’s appreciation of a job they have ranked as one of the most important and well-respected professions in the country, second only to nursing – according to an NFU survey². 

The public has also backed the NFU’s call for Government to prioritise homegrown food production and legislate to ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency³ does not drop below its current level of 60%.

Herefordshire NFU chair Bill Quan, who farms at Pontrilas, said: “As a Herefordshire farmer, father and employer I am proud to produce high quality food in harmony with the environment where I live and work.  

“We contribute strongly to the local economy and community and we are always pleased to invite people from the county and school pupils to visit our farm and see what we do and how we do it. 

“I am delighted to share that in our last financial year during the price hike in fuel, through climate friendly farming practices we have reduced are spend and therefore our carbon footprint.

“I strongly back British Farming Day and sincerely thank Herefordshire shoppers for their continued faith in what we do.”

Back British Farming Day celebrations started in Westminster with a breakfast reception at the House of Commons with more than 100 MPs in attendance. 

NFU President Minette Batters said: “Britain’s farmers and growers are truly inspirational, and it is heart-warming to know the public really value the work we do in producing fantastic homegrown food. 

“This food underpins the British food and farming sector and is worth more than £100 billion to the national economy, all while protecting and enhancing our iconic landscapes.

“As these survey results show, the public really appreciate what Britain’s farmers and growers do day-in, day-out. 90% of the public feel farming is important to the UK economy while 81% agreed that British farms should grow as much food as they can to provide national food security. 

“We really have some of the most forward-thinking, productive and innovative farmers and growers working across our sector. Despite the challenges being faced by everyone this year, we are still doing what we do best – producing great tasting British food. On this Back British Farming Day, we appreciate this public support more than ever and want to say a massive thank you to everyone.”

At Westminster the MPs were given a wheatsheaf pin badge³, now an emblem of the day, to wear during Prime Minister’s Questions to show their support.

They heard that, according to the NFU survey, that 87% of respondents support increasing self-sufficiency in UK food production.

“This is a clear message that the public backs our calls for government to prioritise homegrown food production and legislate to ensure the UK’s self-sufficiency³ does not drop below its current level of 60%,” Mrs Batters added.

“We’ve had everything thrown at us over the past 18 months – soaring production costs, global market instability caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, extreme bouts of weather and significant delays to farm payments. 

“The empty shelves we’ve seen this year speak for themselves; we need to be producing more of our food here.

“Now is the time to ensure those policies are in place to support the production of quality, climate friendly, homegrown food. As we’ve said before, Government has statutory targets for the environment – why can’t food production have the same status? 

“Fundamentally, investing in domestic food production means we can increase our productivity, create more jobs and deliver much more for the economy and for the environment. 

“We know we have huge public support – we now just need our politicians to also back British farming like never before.”