THE year 2021 will live long in the memory as the year that was dominated by the Covid pandemic. Hopes that the worst had been endured during 2020 were unfounded. Last year turned into one of suffering, fear and disruption due to the pandemic, and farming families were certainly not immune from its effects.
The year started in a strict lockdown and ended with the threat of the Omicron variant causing much higher infection levels than any previously experienced.
However at farm level, for those families fortunate enough to avoid the direct effects of the pandemic, work went on much as normal. Indeed, regarding prices, it turned out to be a better year than had been feared. The year had opened with concerns that the exit from the EU would have a detrimental impact on farmgate returns but these were unfounded and most sectors enjoyed strong demand throughout the year.
However, the year ended with soaring input costs with fuel and fertiliser both ‘through the roof’, which is likely to have an impact on the coming year.
The past year also saw concerns over available labour, both at farm level and in processing plants.
On the political front, there were a number of key consultation documents on topics such as TB eradication and the future support meassures for farming. Potential climate change legislation also remains an ongoing debate. Certainly plenty to be sorted out in the year ahead.
FarmWeek Editor Robert Irwin looks back at the highlights and low points of the past year.
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