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In the past, British farmers have been too meek to be noticed by the general public or taken seriously in the corridors of power. So it came as a surprise to see their recent ‘slow tractor’ blockade at Dover Port making the headlines.

At the same time, the new No Farmers No Food campaign to ‘save the farming industry’ has struck a chord, amassing over 54,000 followers on X in a matter of days. 

This grassroots activity in farming circles echoes the farmer protests rippling through mainland Europe, from Moldova, Poland, Germany and Romania to France, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Italy.

Thousands of miles apart, angry farmers feel trapped in a system that crushes them, and they have had enough of it.

The imposition of unreasonable net zero targets add insult to the injury of profiteering by supermarkets, cheap imports, spiralling production costs and the constant barrage of anti-animal food propaganda.

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Politicians have been forced to make concessions to European farmers. The European Commission had to back down on its reduced nitrogen, methane and other emissions targets, while dropping its proposal to halve pesticide use within six years, and scrapping its divisive recommendation that citizens should eat less meat

British farmers, meanwhile, are playing catch-up with their counterparts on mainland Europe, and they face a unique cultural challenge in getting their urgent message across.

Due to Britain’s early industrialisation, most of the population has no connection with food production; no brother-in-law who grows wheat, no sister who herds cattle.

This national disconnection from food production expresses itself in the indifference shown by our political class to farming crises, and a general lack of anxiety about dwindling national food security.

The French, by contrast, know how to mount an eye-grabbing farmers’ revolt. Think of the legendary sheep farmer activist, José Bové, who dismantled a half-built McDonald’s restaurant as a symbolic protest against America’s crippling duties on emblematic French foods, such as roquefort cheese.

There’s nothing like a pungent dump of manure and rotting produce outside a government building or supermarket HQ to concentrate the minds of the agriculture ministers and executives therein. Something for our own polite farmers to consider.