Country Mouse on farmers’ wealth

There will be, if you catch them unguarded, the faintest trace of a smile on the faces of the British cereal farmers at next week?s Royal Show. The price of wheat has risen in the past year from £80 a tonne to about £130 a tonne (it costs between £65 and £80 a tonne to grow), thanks to a combination of drought in many grain-growing countries and the US diverting much of its farming land into manufacturing biofuel. Added to this, the recent rain has swelled the grain, and farmers are whispering that there may be a bumper harvest this year provided the rain soon stops and the sun comes out.

Farmers would do well to be positive over this. They did themselves no favours in the eyes of the public in the 1970s when they last made a lot of money and yet continued to whinge about their lot. This was disastrous for public perception of the industry. When things did go dreadfully wrong during the past decade, their cries fell on deaf ears. I will be praying for a good harvest as it makes such a difference to the wealth of the countryside and, hopefully, it will reverse the image of farming today.