Sunday, 28 February 2010

Hereford Young Farmers

Along with my fellow reporter Beccy Whitefoot I watched the work in progress documentary film Young Farmers at the Borderlines film festival in Hereford.

The film aims to capture the lives of young farmers. Film-maker Anne Cottringer has spent the past year visiting a variety of farms and watching the ups and downs of the farming life. The film is not completely finished yet. The festival was a way of exposing the film as it needs more money to be completed. Anne said she needs about £50,000 to continue filming the final stages and to edit the final feature length film.

The film was impressive. It brought the world of farming into the public domain dealing with political, seasonal and financial difficulties of farmers. It also was an insight into the work that the Young Farmers club does for a young rural generation.
After the 20minute sneak preview of the film some off the young farmers that appeared in the film lead a question and answer session with opened up a forum of farming discussion.

One of the farmers that’s in the film was Jonathan Rogers. He spoke to me afterwards about his farm.
Jonno Young Farmer by bribriwilliams

Also at the meeting was Richard Thomas, a sheep and beef farmer who talked me through his time in the Young Farmers club.

Rich Young Farmer by bribriwilliams

Not only was I impressed by the informative way the young farmers lead the discussion but the vision and enthusiasm that they had.
Richard said “i'm passionate about food production and so the message they are trying to put across with the film is something I was prepared to be a part of.”

The film does indeed show the importance of bringing the younger generation into farming and making it a viable industry to work in. At a lot of farming events I attend all the farmers ask for is a fair price for their product. It seems such a simple request but hard to produce.

Farmers cannot predict the market that their product will be in. The consumer drives the price yet the consumer doesn’t really know the process. Farming is a political problem and maybe a social problem too. Richard drew our attention to the fact that eating around the table in the UK has declined. Having a proper family meal is a rarity. In other cultures more thinking is done about where food comes and why you eat it. They also have a better understanding of where the food comes from. By introducing other cultures and nationalities the discussion quickly moved on to the amount of control the EU has over British farming. Some of the young farmers were calling for more support from the UK Government as at the moment farmers aren’t competing on a level playing field.

The film at Borderlines Festival gave the Young Farmers a platform which I believe so many young farmers desperately need. They are the future of food production in this country and should get all the support they need. At the end of the day, I can live without my mobile phone, I can live without my laptop but I can’t live without food.

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