The Hollands Family's Commitment to Supporting British Farming
Our family farm, based in the beautiful Cheshire countryside, has housed and provided work for many generations of our family.
We love waking up every morning to the views of the fields, the sounds of the animals, and even the squelch of the mud! It’s safe to say that we have deep roots in the farming community and understand the hard work and sacrifice that goes into it, and now we take pride in helping to supply many farmers around the UK with the protective clothing and footwear they need to do their jobs successfully.
Our experience and family background have made us aware of the challenges which farmers face on a daily basis, and we feel it’s important to do more to spread this awareness and education to a wider audience.
The British farming industry plays a pivotal role in providing the nation with essential produce needed to keep the shops and supermarkets open, and food on our table. However, unfortunately, the industry is facing an onslaught of challenges right now, which is having a detrimental effect on their operations and way of life. Economic pressures, changing consumer behaviour, and trade both at home and abroad has placed significant strain on farmers’ livelihoods.
As such a crucial part of society, these challenges need to be recognised and we need to rally to actively support British farmers where we can. All is not lost! We can all work together to ensure a more secure, sustainable future for farming in the UK.
Over the years, Hollands has developed a close relationship with farmers across the country, and a couple of them very kindly took the time to have a chat with me about how we can all do our bit to help. Zoë Colville, aka The Chief Shepherdess (thechiefshepherdness on Instagram) and Emma Foot (emmafoot724) gave me an insightful, first-hand view, which I will discuss further below.
We've recently gifted Reuben, our tenant farmer, a new Deerhunter Muflon Jacket to replace his 10+ year-old one that we'd spotted him wearing whilst working in the pouring rain! He was absolutely delighted as you can see. Next up is some new trousers and Muck Boots.
Challenges Facing British Farmers
For British farmers, like Zoe and Emma, farming isn’t just a job - it’s a way of life. Similar to Hollands, many farms have been in families for generations, so it’s something which embodies a lot of heart and soul.
When I spoke to Zoe and Emma, I could tell how passionate they were about the industry, and this is reflected in how hard they work to keep their farms ticking over - the result of which is that we, as consumers, can always nip to the shops and pick up a pint of milk. A successful and thriving farming industry really is beneficial to us all.
The challenges that they, plus many other farmers, are facing right now is worrying, and it’s vital that we all understand the pressures faced, so we can do our bit to help.
- Extreme weather events present a significant threat to agriculture, with unpredictable weather patterns causing major issues like floods, droughts, and heatwaves. These events can devastate crops and livestock, leading to financial losses for farmers.
- Economic Pressures: The farming industry operates on thin profit margins, and fluctuations in global markets, trade policies, and a cost of living crisis can impact farmers' incomes. Moreover, the high costs of agricultural essentials like seeds, fertilizers, and machinery add to the financial burden.
- Trade Uncertainties: Albeit a polarizing topic, Brexit, has introduced uncertainties regarding trade agreements, subsidies, and access to foreign markets. Changes in these areas can profoundly affect the competitiveness and profitability for British farmers.
- Labour Shortages: The farming industry relies heavily on seasonal labour. When farmers struggle to find enough workers to harvest their crops, this can lead to potential crop wastage.
- Access issues & general challenges causes by members of the public - Fly tipping and blocking access across gateways can cause unnecessary strain on farmers.
- Re-Wilding: Emma Foot made a great point about the recent popularity of re-wilding areas which could lead to the need to import more food.
- Building on productive land: More farms being shut down and replaced with housing, causing the need for further importation.
How You Can Support British Farmers
The Chief Shepherdess, Zoe, had some great advice/polite requests to the public, which can help -
- Keep dogs on leads - Watch for signs where animals are kept, and, if in doubt, always keep your dog on a lead. There are many cases of mauling every year which could be avoided. Not only is this awful for the farmers but also very cruel on the animals. This is also advised for the safety of your dog as much as the farm animals.
- Keep an eye on Social Media Posts - If someone posts about an animal escaping or being stuck in a fence for example, please ensure the post is taken down once the issue has been sorted. Often after an issue has been dealt with farmers continue to get messages from helpful members of the public, but it's hard to know if it's a new issue or one already dealt with.
- Stay on footpaths - Enjoy walking on footpaths, but please stay on the path and always close gates behind you. If a farmer asks you to keep to a path, don't argue, they know whats best; both for your safety and for their animals and farm land.
- Fly Tipping - This is something we've experienced first hand. If you see it, report it and if you're doing it, please stop.
- Block Access - Never block a farm gate or access. This often causes disruptions and headaches for farmers and many an unnecessary disagreement.
Other Ways You Can Support:
Buy Local Produce: One of the simplest and most effective ways to support British farmers is by purchasing locally-produced food. Buying from farmer's markets, farm shops, and direct from the farm not only supports local economies but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation.
Choose Seasonal and Sustainable Products: Opt for seasonal produce that requires less energy and resources to grow. Look for sustainability certifications on food labels, which ensure that the farming practices used are environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
Reduce Food Waste: Food waste puts additional strain on farmers and the environment. By being mindful of food consumption and properly managing leftovers, consumers can contribute to reducing the demand for excessive production.
Support Agricultural Education: Advocate for agricultural education in schools and universities to promote an understanding of farming practices and the importance of sustainable agriculture. This can lead to more informed consumers who make conscious choices.
Back Agricultural Policies: Stay informed about agricultural policies and support those that promote the interests of farmers, such as fair trade agreements, sustainable farming incentives, and research funding for agricultural innovation.
The British farming industry faces significant challenges that require the collective effort of society to overcome. By recognising the importance of supporting local farmers, consumers can make a positive impact in their communities and the environment. Through conscious choices in purchasing and advocating for supportive policies, the public can contribute to the sustainability of British agriculture, ensuring that it continues to thrive for generations to come.
Our family is committed to supporting the farming community any way we can. Last year we raised money for the Charity 'Yellow Wellies', which offers mental health support to farmers, and we will do the same this Christmas. Please get in touch if you have any other farming charities you think we should support!
If you have any other suggestions, comments or support to offer, please feel free to reach out to us!
Find an excellent resource on all things British Farming here:
If you'd like to browse our huge collection of farming clothes, we have footwear, protective clothing, winter warmers and a whole host of other items here:
With her extensive firsthand experience of farm life and a keen eye for quality, Sarah Holland's advice on womens country clothing reflects her genuine appreciation for the joys and comfort of rural living. Whether it's a smart tweed jacket for a formal occasion or durable wellies for muddy walks, she knows what works for life in the countryside. Sarah loves sharing her knowledge and insights to help others discover the perfect attire for their outdoor lifestyle.