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The year when consumers realised the importance of farming

by 5m Editor
2 January 2007, at 5:10pm

UK - Times have been tough for farmers over the past decade, with margins squeezed remorselessly amid low product prices and rising input costs.

However, few will deny that the past 12 months have brought a modest improvement in the fortunes of the industry - with the exception of the dairy sector.

Prices for grain, beef, pig meat and, until recently, lamb have been on the rise. The increase in returns has not been earth-shattering and there has been almost no movement in retail prices in the supermarkets.

But a big change has been the growing awareness on the part of consumers that they need a farming industry to feed their families. Food miles and local sourcing are now issues that are widely discussed.

The weather, apart from a rough spell during the lambing season, has generally been benign. Grass grew well until certain parts of Scotland suffered a mini-drought, but then along came just enough rain. The cereals and potato harvests were completed earlier than normal. Autumn and winter sown crops look well and promise much for next year.

Ross Finnie, the rural development minister, has been his usual busy self, bustling around the countryside listening to farmers. He is regarded as a competent minister and he will be missed when he stands down

Source: The Scotsman

5m Editor