Suffolk Show: Rising food costs and farmers' struggles highlighted as thousands flock to county show

  • ITV News Anglia's Callum Fairhurst spent the day at the Suffolk Show

Tough times for agriculture and the high cost of food have been high up the agenda at this year's Suffolk Show, with farmers and growers calling for more support.

Some said the cost of feed had gone up between 30% and 50% which meant many had pulled out of breeding and keeping pigs altogether.

Others complained that the price of wheat had halved in price while many had struggled with bird flu and some were worried about losing government subsidies.

Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers' Union, said: "Everybody will be feeling the cost of living out there. For farm businesses we're looking at 43% inflation on all farm inputs.

"There are things that can be done. Fairness in the supply chain is absolutely key.

"You've got farmers taking less than 10%, in many cases less than 8% out of the value chain. That is unsustainable going forward."

National Farmers' Union president Minette Batters listens to local MPs Credit: ITV Anglia

Concerns over rocketing food prices were also aired, but Therese Coffey, Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said the government was tackling the problem.

The Suffolk Coastal MP said: "I think over £3bn of support to the farming industry is a big investment in terms of what we're doing.

"Of course we are conscious about the food inflation challenges that are happening that shouldn't be at the expense of people growing the food.

"But it's why we're working very closely on some of the supply chain sectors and contracts in order to make sure that farmers are getting a fair deal. But we're also doing our bit to support households too."

People at the Suffolk show Credit: ITV Anglia

Last year 97,000 visitors attended the show over the two days at Trinity Park near Ipswich.

This year 192 heavy horses took part - including a large contingent which will be making its way down from Scotland - thanks to the recruiting efforts of heavy horse steward Mark Donsworth.

There were also more than 700 light horses, 125 show jumpers - and 14 carriages riding around the local villages during the show.

In the livestock rings, 660 sheep, 260 cattle, 60 goats and 60 pigs were competing.

Among the other highlights were a Red Devils parachute display and a Shetland pony grand national.

Show director John Taylor said the show had been fantastic.

"It's not just me, I've got 350 stewards and staff working very hard behind the scenes and I'm just here to steer this show in the right direction.

"It's our agricultural roots. We've got all the livestock here... so many animals are being judged and seen in the rings.

"That goes back to our reputation and tradition. I really am trying to focus on food production in the county of Suffolk because I think food security is such an important element in our day-to-day life now."

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