NFU President praises Times columnist’s support for farming

23 May 2022

A picture of Minette Batters stood in a harvested field with bales of straw in the background

Times columnist Alice Thomson flies the flag for farming and food production in an article challenging George Monbiot's suggestion that we should stop farming. 

NFU President Minette Batters has written to the The Times applauding Alice's article – Speed the plough: farmers need our support – which says that we must reconnect with the land to live sustainably.

Alice offers the view that we need more farmers, not less, and that they need our support. She also says that shoppers should look to buy local. 

In her letter to the paper Minette says: 

Thank goodness Alice Thomson is flying the flag for farmers and food production. Farmers here in the UK and across the world need our support and Alice is right, we need more farmers, not less.

Farmers produce food at the same time as caring for our iconic countryside. On my farm and working with my farming neighbours, we have brought back nesting Lapwing to the Avon Valley. The careful management of making hay at the right time and grazing cattle, as well as protecting nests on the ground from foxes and badgers, has created the right environment for these wonderful waders to thrive again.

Ukraine produces 80% of the world's sunflower oil. Their yellow and blue flag is a symbol of wheat and blue sky. With Russia withholding vast amounts of Ukrainian grain from the world market, our world is facing into the potential of a humanitarian food crisis. We all recognise the challenges posed by global warming, but we’re also facing the challenge of 'global feeding'.

Alice was also right to challenge the stance of populist author George Monbiot and the possibility of lab-produced 'meat'. Perhaps Mr Monbiot's next book will feature how food being produced in a few laboratories might best be defended? Perhaps a conversation with President Putin might be helpful.

You can read Minette's letter in The Times' online edition (this page is gated for those who do not subscribe to The Times newspaper). Visit: Times letters: Global famine fears and the future of farming

Alice Thomson's article can be read here: Speed the plough: farmers need our support

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query our NFU CallFirst will contact you and, if appropriate, your question will be passed on to one of our policy teams.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.