PEOPLE should buy British produce in order to save the farming industry, the Dorset county chair of the National Farmer’s Union has said. 

George Hosford, an arable farmer near Blanford in Dorset, said the public need to be made better aware of the Red Tractor scheme. 

George said: “British produced food under the Red Tractor Scheme has far more of a guarantee that it is safe, the welfare standards of the animals are pretty much higher than anywhere else in the world and it’s more traceable than anywhere else in the world. 

“There are many countries worldwide using chemicals that were outlawed here a long time ago. They do a lot of damage environmentally.” 

Farmers across Dorset are currently experiencing high prices for machinery, veterinary supplies, agrochemicals, week killers and more which have all “escalated hugely in the last two years.” 

A year ago, fertiliser could be bought for around £300 per tonne. Today it is around £700 per tonne. 

South West Farmer: The cost of grain, used to feed chickens, is now "mind boggling". Picture by PixabayThe cost of grain, used to feed chickens, is now "mind boggling". Picture by Pixabay

Grain prices are also much higher than they were a year ago. George said: “The ones who are really struggling are livestock farmers, who need to buy feed for their animals.  

“Dairy farmers try to get as much of their cow feed from the grass but that only grows six months a year. 

“Pigs and chicken farmers need grain and they are finding it really tough right now. 

“Right now grain can be sold for £300 a tonne – a mind boggling sum. A year or so ago it could be sold for £170 a tonne. 

“Many can’t get out of the business fast enough, so we’re going to end up with a chicken, pork and egg shortage if we’re not careful. 

READ NEXT: New farm worker visas introduced but more needed, say critics

“If the animal feed prices get too high and they can’t make ends meet, farmers will either go bust or sell the productive animals while they have still got some value and do something else because otherwise, they’re losing money hand over fist.” 

Farming minister, Victoria Prentis, said: “Agricultural commodities are closely linked to global gas prices and farmers are facing increased input costs for manufactured fertiliser, livestock feed, energy and fuel. 

“We have announced measures to support farmers with the availability of fertiliser, and we will be bringing forward 50 per cent of the BPS payment to July. 

“We have a high degree of food security in this country, thanks to our farmers.  

“We absolutely want to encourage people at home and abroad to be lining up to buy British, and do everything that we can to support those that produce our food.”