The British Farming Union is a democratic organisation to represent the views of farmers and growers. We exist to get a fair deal for members and to promote British farming, with the goal of a productive and profitable industry. We are run by the members, and believe we are stronger together.
What’s unique about the BFU?
- Run by farmers, for farmers
- Was founded out of frustration with existing farming representation
- No corporate or processor members, only farmers
- Democratic. One member one vote.
- Working together to work better
- £10/annum membership – we want every farmer in the land to join
- Online forum discussions, you can join the debate at any time, from the tractor cab or farm office, and get immediate access to the latest work
- Assurance schemes adding extra standards for no price premium and little benefit to consumers? We’ll work to fix this
HOW TO JOIN
BFU forums are hosted on The Farming Forum. It’s a website already used by lots of farmers, so was a good place to host the British Farming Union discussions.
- Sign up here We’ll ask for your farm enterprise data, so we know how many acres or head of livestock the BFU represents, and will be able to communicate effectively with different sectors.
- After joining, we’ll manually set your permissions so you can access the private BFU discussion. This may take up to 10 days, then we’ll notify you when you’re onboarded. Go to The Farming Forum Homepage and login
- Scroll down to ‘Organisations’, where you’ll find the British Farming Union
- Welcome aboard! Gain access to debates, have voting rights, help shape the BFU, and secure a better future for farming. We’re a new organisation, but member numbers are growing rapidly. It’s all evolving very quickly, so please be patient over the next few weeks, and keep an eye out for developments.
The BFU debates are only visible to logged in members. Voting is for members only, and votes are anonymous.
Members will receive latest news via the email newsletter, and all polls and votes will be notified within the newsletter.
The BFU team (see you on the inside!)
We’ve seen the continual addition of new standards across all the assurance schemes. This adds cost to our businesses for no extra reward.
Before BFU was launched, we’ve been lobbying for change in the cereals sector. We’ve helped achieve movement from Red Tractor (link to press release, “RED TRACTOR BACKS LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR IMPORTED GRAIN) and AHDB (position statement on Red Tractor, and funding withdrawal). Growing BFU membership means we can achieve so much more.
In order for UK grain to access markets such as feed/flour mills it is expected to be “farm” assured by schemes such as Red Tractor or Scottish Quality Crops. There is no such requirement for imported grain to be farm assured, but instead imports can use “trade” assurance to access our markets. The organisations involved will not allow UK grain to utilise trade assurance, even though they do so for imports.
The BFU thought this was unfair, so utilising a poll of members, asked the following question (results in bold) :-
“Which of the following best describes your views on combinable crops assurance?”
(1). Farm based assurance, such as Red Tractor or SQC, should remain the only assurance method available to UK growers (0.0% of the vote)
(2). Farm based assurance should remain as an option, and trade assurance (same method as imports) should be made available to UK growers (35.0% of the vote)
(3). I’d like BFU to negotiate the option of trade assurance, but if this isn’t allowed we should organise for all farmers to stand together and unilaterally resign membership of combinable crop assurance schemes (65.0% of the vote)
The BFU will now utilise the results of this poll to negotiate change for the membership.
We will provide organisation and cooperation between farmers, speak with one voice and act collectively. We aim to negotiate and drive real change so farm assurance has a realistic burden on farmers, and a level playing field with imports.
An assurance scheme is only successful if it has farmer members, so the power is with the farmers. It just needs organisation. We can achieve this by effective communication.
To drive change we need numbers. Please text/Whatsapp/call all your friends about the BFU.
Exeter Council Going Plant Based
In a recent resolution, to highlight awareness of environmental impact and climate change, Exeter City Council voted to transition to plant-based catering at internal meetings.
The BFU have made contact with Exeter Council, explained that published figures for livestock “emissions” only consider the “emission” of carbon, and does not take into account the captured (photosynthesised) carbon in the livestock system. Nor does it take account of the excellent sequestration qualities of British grasslands. The BFU explained how British livestock systems utilise millions of tonnes of waste by-products from the human food industry, and how livestock turn this into efficient and sustainable high quality protein, rich in iron and vitamin B12.
The BFU have called on Exeter Council to amend their motion to promote the use of local, sustainable, British meat and dairy, and understand the difference between this and imported foods.
Exeter Council have now agreed to look again at the issue, and BFU have invited them to come out to Devon farms and see for themselves some sustainable and local food production.