Farmers should 'rename themselves as food producers', conference told

FARMERS should consider renaming and rebranding themselves as ‘food producers’ in a bid to improve the image and accessibility of the industry, a conference was told.

Ecologist Sue Everett, who was an audience member at an Oxford Real Farming Conference discussion on the future of the industry, came out with the radical suggestion.

She said: “I think there is an issue with the word farmers. We could change the terminology so that we refer to food producers, not farmers.

“Farmers are seen as a clique and that will put people off going into the industry from outside.”

She also suggested establishing a professional status for the industry, maybe via a professionally affiliated body, which she claimed would help raise the profile of farmers.

The Oxford Real Farming Conference takes place at the same time as the Oxford Farming Conference, and is seen by organisers as an antidote to discussions focusing on large scale agriculture and ‘hi-tech agribusiness’.

The discussion saw NFYFC members Chris Bateman, Victoria Hicks and ex Ceja rep Katherine Sealy answer questions from the audience.

Topics such as Single Payments and social media were touched upon and Mr Bateman was put forward strong opinions about the future of subsidies.

He said: “People who have got land but do not work it should not get any payment because that land is there to produce food. All subsidies do is keep food cheap and if we removed then we would get a fair price for our product.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Improving the 'image and accessibility of the industry' will not be achieved by a simple rebranding exercise. We need to build and maintain public trust in the coming years by proactively promoting the values that farmers share with the public such as is already done in the US by the Center for Food Integrity to great effect. Leave the rebranding to government departments and let's work with organisations such as CFI to deliver effective public relations work that IS going to transform public opinion of farmers.

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