His description of farmers as “a remarkable breed; adaptable, resilient and incredibly hardworking” also comes from the heart. His Royal Highness is both a farmer himself, amongst his many public roles, and the country’s foremost champion of rural issues.
Yet these words are key to his call for small family farms to find “strength in numbers” inside a co-operative to deal with future upheavals after the loss of over 110,000 such enterprises in the past three decades.
The great majority of farmers are proud individuals – it is part of their DNA – who believe it would be an admission of weakness, even failure, on their part, if they were to pool their resources. It should, however, not be like this. What Prince Charles is doing is showing how family farms – the lifeblood of the rural economy – can become more viable, and stronger, because, as he says himself, “new times demand new thinking”.
As such, The Yorkshire Post looks forward to learning more about how the Prince’s economic model could work here and overcome the “deep-seated aversion to farmer co-operatives in this country” that Charles, himself, has acknowledged.
After all, no one else is going to speak up for agriculture when Defra, and successive governments, have paid lip service to the industry for so long. If 100,000 firms were going out of business in any other sector of the economy, there would have been a far more profound and purposeful response from all political parties. Yet, given this ambivalence, it is even more important that farming embraces this call-to-arms from Prince Charles.
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