Farms trade with many businesses and professions, including vets, animal footcare specialists, accountants, various environmental, financial or animal health services, haulage companies, insurance brokers, auctioneers, land agents, agricultural contractors, agricultural engineers, mechanics, electricians, builders, plumbers, feed merchants, hairdressers and miscellaneous agricultural goods suppliers as well as local pubs, shops, garages and other vital community services.
Ruth and Richard Burrows, Devonshire farmers, assembled suppliers representing 3000 others whose livelihoods depend on them and other farmers. A photograph was taken with notes giving the names and roles of the people pictured. Mrs Burrows said: “They are living proof of the importance of the spending power of the farmer and how enormously important agriculture is in terms of the entire economic structure around here.”
“Payment which covers production costs and overheads must be the norm for British food producers. This money will circulate around individual rural communities through the supply of professional goods and services to the prime producer, helping to provide a diverse range of other employment opportunities that support individual families within rural communities.”
So writes Kathleen Calvert, from one of the farming families who have been travelling considerable distances to advocate a consistently fair milk price for dairy farmers, explaining farming’s importance for the wider rural economy.
She reminds readers that if food producers are not fairly paid, this has a knock-on effect on many small rural businesses and so affects their families and surrounding communities.
Matthew Dugdale, the managing director of Dugdale Nutrition, which has supplied the Calvert family for three generations, explains:
“(F)arming is like any business, needing a fair and sustainable price for its product to ensure a fair income for the long hours worked and a decent return on the often large amounts of capital employed, and very importantly, surplus profit to reinvest for the future.”