There's a fascinating story in our dairy section this week about a bunch of agri-businessmen who have formed a campaigning group to raise awareness of the plight of farming in this country. Admittedly, it's all rather emotive stuff - as the group's first, rather clever, national newspaper ad demonstrates.

Nevertheless, I recommend that you check out this story - because I wonder whether this is a sign of things to come. More and more people, both within and outside the industry, are voicing concern about what is happening to our food and farming supply base. They worry about food security issues or what impact imports are having on jobs or how our rapacious consumerism is damaging the environment. "After all," they say, "do we really need Kenyan beans to be flown into our shops?"

As part of that debate, I increasingly find myself being asked why we import what we do and in such quantities. But I remind questioners that we have always imported food: often it fills seasonal gaps and so complements domestic production; sometimes it's because we can't produce it here; and occasionally it's because someone else, frankly, does a better job. Important points to stress, given that British food exporters have just notched up some pretty impressive sales figures of their own. Turning back to the beans issue, I usually respond by asking: why shouldn't farmers in Kenya earn a decent living by growing stuff to fill our shelves in winter?

Nevertheless, as I see increasing numbers of British farmers quitting the industry and British food factories closing down, I can't help sharing many of the concerns being raised. After all, is it right that we import quite so much poultry meat? Does the fact that it's really, really cheap allow us to say "Bugger the consequences to the environment or production in this country"? I don't think it does. And neither, I suspect, do the growing number of consumers who are becoming alarmed at how little we are doing to tackle global warming.

Oh dear, I hear you say, this is just an issue that vexes the chattering classes and not something we should worry about. Well, just as we began warning the industry four years ago that it should take the health debate more seriously - and two years ago about a brewing backlash against big retail - so we are today warning you that this issue will become even bigger. Ignore it at your peril.