The National Farmers‘ Union has encouraged electoral representatives to support Back British Farming Day by fixing ears of wheat to their lapels.
The union aims to remind MPs of the importance of British food and farming standards, and to celebrate all the great things about the industry.
Find out below the meaning behind the badge and why MPs are wearing them today.
What do the MPs’ wheat-sheaves badges mean?
Wednesday, September 13 marks Back British Farming Day in the UK.
Each year, MPs are invited to show their support for British farming by wearing a wool and wheat-sheaf pin badge in the Palace of Westminster.
In recent years, the prime minister, leader of the opposition, and senior politicians have worn them during debates and Prime Minister’s Questions.
From the Upper Dales to Great Ayton and Northallerton, from sheep to dairy and arable, farming touches every part of my constituency.
British farmers feed the nation and their success is fundamental to our national success.
I will always #BackBritishFarming 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/7Lto00dEwJ
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 13, 2023
Politicians are also posting photographs of the badge, sharing what farming means to them on Twitter, using #BackBritishFarming.
What is Back British Farming Day?
Now in its eighth year, the day celebrates British farming values and highlights its importance to the UK economy.
It reminds politicians that British food and farming contributes more than £120 billion to the UK economy each year and employs four million people.
Farmers are encouraged to celebrate the day by posting about their work and why they’re proud of it on social media.
The NFU also hosts an annual Best of British Farming photo competition, and will share the 3,000 submissions they received today.
Furthermore, the NFU will be announcing its inaugural Community Farming Hero awards at our event in Westminster on Back British Farming Day.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “British farmers and growers are often pillars of their communities. Whether it’s maintaining the landscapes people love to visit, helping neighbours in times of extreme weather or fundraising for local charities, NFU members often go the extra mile.
“With the help of MPs we’re recognising and celebrating their invaluable contributions.”
Plans to boost British produce
The Government has confirmed that farmers who have a live Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 (SFI) agreement before the end of the year will receive an accelerated payment — worth 25 per cent of the value of their agreement — in the first month of their agreement, helping with cashflow and ensuring SFI works for farm businesses.
This is in recognition of the challenges faced with inflation and rising input costs.
Additionally, the Government will look for ways to relieve small abattoirs of excessive restrictions to make it easier for them to operate and help farmers access regional and global markets.
A £4 million Small Abattoir Fund will assist this and launch by the end of 2023 in order to increase production, improve animal health and wellbeing, and promote investment in innovative technology.