AS we are all adjusting to revised social and economic conditions, I would ask your readers to remember the role the farmers in Ryedale have to play.

British farmers are proud to produce high quality food with a low carbon footprint and high animal welfare standards. The UK’s self-sufficiency in food has dropped to 61 per cent over recent years and now more than ever this needs to be increased.

Following dreadful autumn and winter planting seasons there is a huge amount of work to do in the next few weeks planting spring crops and tending overwintered cereals. For many the lambing season is just getting under way and bringing with it a requirement for 24-hour labour coverage.

Farmers in Ryedale and beyond fully recognise the weight of expectation now resting on their shoulders and they will work day and night to make sure you have plenty of food. It is pleasing to see that Morrisons is speeding up its payment terms to farmers to guarantee supply.

During wartime farms relied on additional labour from prisoners of war, land girls and children. Twenty-first century agriculture has a lower labour requirement in general and but there are still many jobs which machines cannot replace.

Fruit and vegetable growers still rely on hand-picking of produce. In Ryedale the immediate need for many farmers is help with lambing. If you think you can help a farmer in anyway please make enquires in your locality or even ring us at the NFU and we will put you in touch.

Thank you for buying British Food.

Rob Hicks, Ryedale NFU Group Secretary

Climate change

IN response to Derek Chapman’s letter in your paper of the March 18.

The Green party has long recognised the urgent need to tackle the problems associated with climate change and has advocated a whole raft of measures across the board that would reduce emissions while at the same time providing jobs and boosting the economy in a sustainable way.

These include clean and green energy, properly insulated homes, efficient and comprehensive public transport, better provision for cycling and walking, and better planning to reduce the need for unnecessary travel. Not only that but help for all individuals in the form of a basic citizens income that would provide financial security no matter what external conditions might prevail.

The Court of Appeal’s decision reminds us that all major infrastructure projects should take account of the climate as well as financial costs. It is perverse that the government can announce huge funding for new road schemes and keep the freeze on fuel duty while refusing to fund schemes that would greatly improve our rail infrastructure.

The Dispatches programme on Channel 4 (March 16) highlighted that engineers had provided schemes to remove blockage and pinch points around the system enabling more trains to run with better capacity.

The government even promised, as part of the franchise to Northern Rail, that the scheme to remove the restrictions at Manchester would be implemented, and yet this and other such schemes around the country are still on hold.

Climate change will affect all our lives. As well as all the other effects, a warming climate will increase the prevalence of certain diseases and so it is essential that governments do all they can to minimise these risks.

Glyn Wild, Swinton

Show respect

I AM writing in response to Jill Hopkins’ letter about litter picking on the B1248 leading into Wharram-le-Street.

I am the chair of Wharram Parish Council and am very pleased about her comments regarding the group of people doing a litter pick on the verges recently.

We are all members of the parish council committee and we spent a Sunday afternoon clearing a tremendous amount of rubbish from the verges.

We, like Jill, are annoyed at the way too many people discard their empty bottles, tin cans, food wrappers and a whole range of other items.

We are so lucky to live on the beautiful North Yorkshire Wolds and just wish everyone would show respect for the countryside and dispose of their litter properly.

Roger Kay, chair of Wharram Parish Council