“UK farmers are simply losing faith in our government”

Farmers are underestimated, much needed members of the community – and MPs must value them, says Dorset farmer Barbara Cossins.

Cossins family
Fifth generation Dorset farmer James Cossins and his wife Barbara (centre) with their children Georgie and Henry, and grandchild.

Dorset farmer Barbara Cossins is urging MPs to appreciate farmers, as she says “the UK farming community are simply losing faith in our government”.

The comments follow a recent meeting organised by NFU Mutual Salisbury and Wareham, to allow local farmers to hear ideas from their MPs about how they could help agriculture.

Barbara said it was clear at the meeting that farmers “are so fed up with the way they are being treated”.

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Relying on imports is madness

She stressed that global instability – wars, conflict, famine, environmental impact and climate change – is a ‘problem for everybody’ – and we all need food.

In a plea to MPs she said: “Our UK farmers are very underestimated, much needed members of the food industry.

“Please remember the farmers were paid subsidies after the war in order to grow essential crops, veg and fruit as cheaply as possible so that Britain could feed its own population.

“For us to ever rely solely on cheap imported food is madness. We have to be able to sustain our own population and be proud to do so.”

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Importance of food education

Barbara, who farms with her husband James in Dorset, said the governments of the past three decades “have completely abandoned food education for young people”.

She believes home economics should have been kept in the curriculum in all schools.

High levels of mental health issues in young people could also be partially down to poor diet, she continued, including ultra processed foods and lack of nutrients.

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Stand up for British farmers

Referring to the upcoming election, Barbara said:

“All the political parties need to stand in the same corner for our British food producers and farmers and help fight the supermarkets’ dictatorship.

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“Give the farmers back the voice that they need to have instead of being led by the massive, big boys from the supermarket chains who have all the power and none of the goodness of real food to offer,” she concluded.

The Cossins farm run the traditional mixed farm, Rawston Farm, in Tarrant Rawston, Dorset. Arable crops are grown on 728ha, including winter barely, winter wheat, spring barley, spring beans and maize.

They also have 300 milking cows across two herds and keep 180 cattle, which go into the farm’s butchery and shop.

Barbara created the county-wide Love Local Trust Local food label scheme to help consumers understand the provenance of their food and encourage them to support local farmers and growers.

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