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The Future of Farming in Ross
by Liz Boynton, Agricultural Journalist


The difference between the traditional rural dweller and the passive admirer of the countryside is that while both appreciate the beauty of nature, true country people also accept the need to move forwards. Nature is always about change.

The early prosperity of Ross on Wye was established by a number of hard working farming families who created a successful agricultural industry in the area. Our town is set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and its unique characteristics are mainly due to the production of food by the local farming community.

In times past most farmers kept livestock and there were a large number of dairy herds in the area. But as farming has changed, livestock has disappeared from our landscape and greater emphasis has been put on the more profitable production of cereals, potatoes, and in recent times, soft fruit.

Visitors to Ross admire the landscape and its features - however, they should realise that these will continually change as farming changes. Farmers are being asked to respond to a different market and to meet the various needs of a modern society.

In times past there would have been at least one member of every Ross family either employed or linked by their business to farming. Only twenty years ago, pea picking, fruit harvesting and potato picking would bring families out to the fields. This was before mechanisation and the need for economies of scale.

The countryside cannot be preserved in some romanticised image of a past age. Modern agriculture and vibrant communities advance by looking to the future.

We must have some sort of successful, profitable farming in the area in order to maintain our countryside - so that the people of Ross and its tourists can enjoy a countryside that thrives and promotes a beauty that comes from a farming community looking to the future.

The farmers of Ross are meeting that challenge.

Liz Boynton, freelance journalist based in Herefordshire

 

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