Just what is wrong with Government farming policy?
"Our job is to ensure that farmers' voices are heard - by the public, politicians, business and the media."
Perhaps a mission statement that would look very much at home on a piece of National Farmers' Union letterhead. But it is in fact part of the creed for farm, the newly launched farming group which states its role as a campaigning voice "fighting for a viable future for independent and family farms".
Research commissioned by farm claims that of the 500 farms surveyed across the nation, over 1/4 believe their interests are not represented by any current organisation and over 2/3rds want a new body to speak for 'family farms'.
Those behind farm believe that the new organisation will have grass-roots support and that the NFU isn't fully representative of British farmers (with only around 33% of farmers being members of the NFU). Whilst the NFU represents 'bigger' farmers, the National Coordinator of farm, Robin Maynard, says that there is still room for a new voice to represent individual farmers.
In the wake of last year's foot and mouth crisis and high level criticism of the NFU's stance opposing vaccination, questions were raised about whether the body was truly representative of the industry view. That criticism has grown in some circles as the debate continues over the appropriateness of genetically modified crops. The launch of farm will only serve to continue debate over whether the NFU's role has fundamentally changing.
As one of its first acts, farm has delivered a draft bill to the Government it says outlines a "coherent, long-term vision" for the farming industry. Of key concern to the organisation is unfair farm-gate prices, food security and the prospect of sustaining rural communities if an estimated 50,000 farmers are forced off the land.
Neither the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs nor the National Farmers' Union wanted provide a spokesperson for interview on the Today programme about the launch of the new farmers' group and their draft bill, but you can hear Tom Feilden's report and an interview with Robin Maynard by clicking on the audio link in the right hand column.
farm - Farmers' organisation
NFU - National Farmers' Union
DEFRA - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs