Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Do Ambridge residents watch Countryfile?

Catching up with some of our Relu researchers' and stakeholders' appearances on the BBC's "Countryfile" this week I found myself wondering whether the inhabitants of Ambridge might be watching. One of the topics under investigation was organic produce and its apparent decline in popularity. Consumers seem to be prioritising animal welfare over the use of pesticides, which is interesting in the current economic climate. Free-range eggs do certainly seem to be maintaining their sales. Meantime, over on Radio 4, Borchester Land's mega-dairy seems poised to undercut small-scale producers and it's crunch-time for Brookfield Farm's herd if David and Ruth can't pay for a new slurry tank, the old one having been sabotaged by malevolent badgers. The farming press has praised the even-handed coverage of the proposed new enterprise. I have to agree that it has been well done, showing the care that will go into ensuring the cows' well-being. From a purely personal (and possibly townie-sentimental) point of view, however, I can't help reflecting on the sheer joy displayed by a herd of dairy cows rushing out into a field after a winter spent inside. So I wonder whether David and Ruth Archer couldn't be capitalising on such townie consumer sentiment and going for an animal welfare label, built upon small-scale, grass-fed herds? Perhaps Pip has time to watch television occasionally and could give them a few marketing tips.

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