SAVED: PAGE: ACTIVE AREA:

Vice President's Blog - 28 August 2018

We are all now fully aware of the implications of the drought conditions we have just come through. Most livestock farmers are having to look at how they will get through the coming winter, it may be by having a ration planned out early enough or maybe looking at alternative sources of bedding and fodder to supplement what’s grown on the farm. Although many arable farmers are switching off the choppers on their combines, which is very much appreciated, there is still a real concern that supplies will be extremely tight going into the coming winter. One way or another the industry will pull together and get through this.

I’ve always been an optimist and firmly believe that if you go into something with a positive attitude, you have far more chance of getting the desired outcome. That’s why at every opportunity I'll try to look at the positive side of our industry. We as farmers are far too good at talking our own industry down and that doesn't help as pessimism can spread much quicker than optimism.

It’s a bit like a news story, every time there’s a disaster it makes the headlines, everyone hears about it and everyone talks about it.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough interest when things are going well. Take for example, our beef price, it’s widely recognised as being the most expensive beef in the whole world - albeit the associated costs are extremely high - that's a fantastic story to tell but it won’t sell in the tabloids. Our sheep farming which goes on in most of our hills is absolutely vital to addressing climate change with all the good credentials of sheep associated with sustainability, not just for the sheep sector but the wider benefits when it comes to the whole rural economy. All livestock that graze grass and poorer forage keep our hillsides in a very good carbon sequestrating state.

If that livestock was completely withdrawn then the rank vegetation that would take over would simply die back and release carbon into our atmosphere adding to our challenge of keeping our planet in a good sustainable state.

Scotland is in pole position when it comes to carbon capture, admittedly our rainfall helps us, but the combination of our green pastures and hills and the livestock that grazes them in a sustainable manner that encourages all other forms of biodiversity, is something we should be shouting about from the rooftops.

Again, unfortunately it’s not a story that’s going to sell to the public. We have become an industry that’s taken for granted and no one will sit up and do anything about it until it’s too late.

What we need to do is take a leaf out of Russell Howard’s book and start telling the good news. There’s plenty of it, from producing a high-quality food and drink product in a natural manner from every sector to making a massive contribution to the fantastic mosaic of colours and biodiversity that we are so proud of.

Let’s not be taken for granted, let’s spread the good news, the more people that hear about it the better.

Author: Martin Kennedy

Date Published:


< Article List

Close

Report Abusive Comment

Comment Content:

Why it offends me (optional):



Have Your Say

No-one has commented on this article yet. Be the first to have your say...

New Comment

Share

Total Pages:
Total Results:
Page Start:
Page Result #:

About The Author

Martin Kennedy

Martin is married with three daughters and farms with his wife Jane in Highland Perthshire on a hill farm rising to 2,500ft. They have 600 breeding ewes, 30 continental cows and 30 Highlanders. Martin served two years as Highland Perthshire branch President, he first represented East Central region on the LFA committee in 2009 before being elected as Vice Chairman for three years. He is currently serving his second year as Chairman. He is a past chairman of Aberfeldy Show and Highland Games, a post he held for six years.

©NFU Scotland • All Rights Reserved • Web design by Big Red DigitalLog in

Close

Contact Us

 

 

 

No Robots:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.