Agriculture staff and students from Reaseheath have discussed the impact of Brexit on the food and farming industry on BBC Radio 5 Live’s flagship financial series ‘Wake up to Money’.
The timing of the programme, Tuesday, March 20, was particularly apt as details on the Government’s new draft withdrawal agreement had just been made public.
Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture Course Managers James Bickerton and Helen Machin and BSc Agricultural Business Management undergraduates George Browne and Rachel Armour took part in the debate, which was broadcast from our lambing sheds. They were joined by guests Terry Jones, Director General of the NFU, and Sam Watson-Jones, Co-Founder of the Small Robot Company, a start-up business which is revolutionising the way that technology – particularly Artificial Intelligence – is used to create food.
All speakers were commended by programme producer Clare Matheson for their balanced and informed views, and our undergraduates, in particular, earned praise from business and farming experts for the effective way they represented the next generation of farmers.
George, 21, who is in his sixth year of study at Reaseheath, told presenter Sean Farrington: “Farmers need to show the public what we do and get them to help us create essential new trade deals.”
Rachel, 22, who comes from Northern Ireland, warned against a hard border saying: “Changing borders will make trade relationships very difficult and will affect sales from Northern Ireland and the UK. We need to keep trade channels as they are.”
Terry Jones acknowledged: “The farming economy is going to be tough without the best payment schemes. The government has a duty to give farmers the confidence to drive up productivity. Whatever happens, there will still be fantastic demand for the high quality, traceable food produced by our farmers.”
Sam predicted: “Artificial intelligence will help farmers to make daily decisions about farm management. In future farmers won’t so much sit on tractors, they’ll manage fleets of robots.”
Terry Jones said afterwards: “We had a great discussion. I was particularly impressed with the input from Reaseheath’s students.”
Wake up to Money is BBC Radio 5 Live’s early morning programme, providing news and views on business and the world of personal finance plus the latest from the global financial markets. It is broadcast from 05:15 to 06:00 each weekday and typically attracts half a million listeners daily and a similar number who download the podcast.
The live broadcast from Reaseheath went out on Tuesday, March 20, 5.15am – 6am, and was followed by several short interviews up to 9am. Catch it at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0070lr5/episodes/downloads