BRITISH farmers have had a lot of ups and downs over the years.

Foot and mouth outbreaks in 1967, 2001 and 2007 proved that farming is no easy business. Not only do they have to contend with many other diseases like Mad Cow disease and Bovine TB, but the complications of Brexit, and fluctuating global markets, have added to recent complications.

But whatever the obstacle, British farming has proved itself incredibly resilient over the years.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “The Foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 was devastating for British cattle and sheep farmers and will never be forgotten by those who lived through it.

“Through the hard work of an entire industry, and a united national effort during the crisis, British farming has since recovered to become known globally for its leading standards of safety and traceability. All this is underpinned by animal welfare and environmental standards that lead the world.

“This transformation is testament to the lessons learned from Foot and Mouth and the resilience of British farming.”

There are many other factors that the British farming industry has had to contend with. Brexit continues to be a big shake up of how the country is run and this includes farming.

There are fears of cheaper American meat coming into the market. However, many in the farming community remain positive for the future.

Adam Bedford, regional director of the NFU North East said: “Since the referendum, farming policy is rapidly coming back to Westminster.

“Rather than the European Union like it was before.

“DEFRA would like to see a prosperous and profitable farming industry so there is a lot of change coming.

“The farming industry is remarkably resilient; Foot and Mouth was a problem focused on farming and we got through it.

“Now with Covid, there were a few problems with the supply chains and a lot of produce went to waste, but that’s all been balanced out now with supermarket demand now up again.

“We’ve seen a lot of farming and food businesses started during Covid, which would not be possible with Foot and Mouth.

“There’s a bright future but we don’t want farmers to have one hand behind their backs when it comes to the future.”

Access to rural areas for exercise and enjoyment, and the opportunities provided by rural tourism, are something the whole country can benefit from.

The NFU continues to work closely with Defra and Natural England to ensure the safety of everyone using public access rights.

“We had over a million people sign our petition to protect British produce.

“I think people have become a lot more reconnected with the countryside due to lockdown. Its not just farmers that will see change in the future, but the rural communities.

“This is the decade for farming, there are talks on increasing food production, environmental changes and climate change and farmers are at the centre of all that.

“The North East is overwhelmingly rural so it is so important to get it right for this region.”