Express & Star

Star comment: Poor summer a threat to agriculture

The weather and the impact of climate change are never far from the news agenda. One sector that is sometimes overlooked is agriculture.


Earlier this week, the poor summer was blamed for retail sales being down; today the NFU is warning about the potential impact on our crops.

We live in a semi-rural area, where vast swathes of the West Midlands conurbation are surrounded by countryside in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Mid Wales and their hinterlands. We support a diverse and productive agricultural sector that has an interest in arable farming and dairy, in the production of beef and lamb, and in the cultivation of crops as diverse as strawberries and asparagus.

The continual downpours and lack of warm sunshine might feel like a relief after the dry spells and heatwaves of 2022. However, the soggy summer is playing havoc with those in agriculture and many are suffering.

If we factor into the equation the impact of rising costs, a poor harvest is the last thing our farmers need. The industry has been through so much in recent times that this might push some beyond the brink. Livelihoods will come to an end as farmers fail to make ends meet. They have already been punished by spiralling fuel costs while the cost of borrowing, which has soared in recent months, is problematic.

Farmers are the backbone of our countryside. They are the custodians of our landscape and protectors of nature. Related industries are vital to the health of our economy.

The poor weather and disappointing yields are the last thing famers need. They are direly in need of some good news – and soon.


The cost of living continues to create problems, and as ever fraudsters are doing their best to cash in. They are targetting those who are vulnerable and in need and with people facing tough times, criminality is flourishing.

The latest warning from the Financial Conduct Authority relates to fake offers of loans.

The need to be more vigilant than ever is apparent. The best advice is to check – and double check – before signing up to anything. And follow the tips for spotting offers that are genuine.

We should never give personal details if there is a scintilla of doubt – even if we feel sure the person requesting them is genuine, we should only ever proceed with caution.

It is saddening that people cash in on other people’s vulnerability at a time when times are already tough. We must remain alert at all times and safeguard our possessions and wellbeing.