THE NATIONAL Farmers Union (NFU) has spoken of the future of the industry at today's (July 26) Ryedale Show.

Speaking at the event, Rob Hicks, group secretary at the NFU, said that it was “brilliant to be back” at the Ryedale Show after its two-year absence.

He praised the show, saying it was amongst the best of showcases in farming and that it showed a group of farmers “proud to produce food.”

The day’s bad weather did not deter farmers, with Rob explaining how it meant more could attend because valuable work time was not missed on farms.

Speaking of the past year, Rob said there has been a lot of uncertainty in farming.

He said farmers are facing less government help payments, with a further emphasis on the environment and not enough on food produce.

Rob explained that the security of food has never been more important.

“People have taken (food security) for granted for too long,” he said.

“The importance of food security has been felt enormously.”

Rob added that rising costs during the cost-of-living crisis has had a knock-on effect on farmers, with many leaving the industry.

Giving an example, he said that the price of grain has increased hugely so feeding poultry is now unstainable.

Looking to the future, Rob said that a change of governmental leadership is hoped to help these issues.

He said: “We are hopeful that a new PM recognises the importance of food security.”

Speaking on the government’s recent decision to launch a review on food policy, Rob commented: “(I am) pleased that not all (policy) is on environmental control. We need food.”

Now, he explained that the recent heatwave has brought further problems for farmers.

Due to the dry weather, crop fires and fires to machinery were reported across North Yorkshire.

As reported by the Gazette and Herald, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received 172 emergency calls on July 19 as temperatures soared to record breaking heights across the county on its hottest day on record.

Rob has asked farmers to take steps to stay safe such as having fire extinguishers on machinery.

He also urged people not to drop cigarette buts due to their likeliness of sparking fires.

Another safety concern was on cyclists.

Rob said that cyclists should wear helmets and fluorescent coloured clothing so they can be seen by those driving large farming equipment such as tractors on roads.

He added that no matter who is at fault with incidents involving cyclists, it is usually the cyclist that is worst affected.

More information on the National Farmers Union, and how to join, can be found on the organisation’s website: