For a long time the NFU has been criticized for being more sympathetic towards four-legged farmers and at times it is understandable, but now is the time to consider all types of farming and horticulture, writes Sue Lamb.
Flower and plant growers have always been the poor relation to agriculture so I urge the NFU, when looking how we take this industry forward after Brexit, to consider the ornamental growers. In this area alone we are vital to the economy, both in terms of employment and revenue brought in. I do feel people not involved in flower and plant growing for all outlets have little understanding as to the volumes involved so I urge all local businesses to open their doors to local schools and clubs. Educate the children and you educate the parents. Unless we are granted access by the government to another seasonal workers scheme we shall need the local community more than we appreciate. This industry is a thirsty beast for labour and technology can only do so much. Ornamental growers, like farmers, support many other industries from engineering to packaging, haulage to IT.
Secondly, I hope Mrs May is able to soon give total clarity and reassurance to all our Eastern European workforce that they will be invited to remain and work as before. I appreciate she waits for the same reassurance from European countries where Brits reside, but I fail to see why an agreement from both sides, so simple, needs to be so protracted.
Remember always buy British where possible and a bunch of flowers or a pretty plant is as good for you as a bowl of fruit!