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Survey reveals ‘overwhelming’ public support for British Farming and sustainable food production  

Michelle Robinson

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As farmers’ protests sweep across Europe, a survey has revealed that the British public overwhelmingly support farmers. 94% of respondents to a survey carried out by Deltapoll believe it’s important that the UK government supports British farming as it faces the huge challenge of achieving sustainable food production against a backdrop of falling prices, climate change, and geopolitical disturbances.  

The public ‘overwhelmingly’ supports British farming  

Retailers driving down prices due to the cost of living, rising costs, increasingly strict regulation and policy, particularly around sustainability, climate change, and geopolitical crises; these are all behind the protests and blockades we’re seeing in Europe. British farming is facing the same challenges.  

At the recent NFU conference, the results of the Deltapoll survey were revealed and they reflected the mood of the British people; that the government needs to better support British farming and there is huge support for home-grown sustainable food production. 81% of those surveyed said it is important that they buy home-grown food rather than imports from overseas.  

Commenting on the survey results, the then NFU President Minette Batters said that they clearly demonstrated two things; that food is something that connects with people’s hearts and minds, and that farming is important to everyone, not just those who live in rural areas.  

More government funding for farming announced  

Calls for the government to provide more funding to support sustainable home-grown food production featured heavily in the survey responses. Nearly half of those surveyed thought that the government should increase the money it spends on farming.  

Hot on the heels of the unveiling of the survey results, the Prime Minister announced a £430 million package of grant support aimed at helping farmers with productivity and technology. In a speech to conference delegates, Rishi Sunak confirmed that £220m will be spent on future-focused technology and productivity schemes so farmers can invest in automating more labour-intensive tasks. In addition, energy measures like rooftop solar panels will also be funded, helping farmers reduce their bills and safeguarding land for food production.  

Acknowledging the challenges and changes that agriculture faces, the prime minister said it was important to support British farming and not take food security for granted.

Additional support he announced includes: 

  • A doubling of the Management Payment for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) meaning those farmers with agreements in place will receive an extra £1000 this April.  
  • A new annual UK-wide Food Security Index to capture and present the data needed to monitor levels of food security. 
  • A £15m fund to help tackle food waste from the farm gate. 
  • Reduced red tape around development rights so farmers can develop buildings and diversify their farm businesses.  


Farmers can’t do it alone  

While farmers are well-placed to combat climate change as stewards of 71% of UK land, they need support from government and others in the supply chain to achieve sustainable food production and build resilient businesses. More funding is only part of the answer. First and foremost, they need to be aided by policies which are fair and realistic as well as being economically viable.  





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