In announcing his retirement from The Sunday Game a fortnight ago Pat Spillane suggested that he may turn to becoming a social media influencer, as that’s where the money is at. He summed up the role well.
“They tell me to become an influencer, you don’t have to have any expertise, no qualifications and no knowledge, just plenty of neck and a load of confidence.”
The emergence of influencers in social media circles in recent years adds a new dimension to debate on most subject matters. It allows an individual who has built a large following to gain influence that once was the preserve of organisations. There’s pros and cons to both that and the role of influencers within agriculture and the debates the sector finds itself involved in. Agriculture finds itself on the national airwaves for more than ploughing week these days.
A trend in the current debate is that the ire of farmers can be directed at a scapegoat
I’ll admit, when the “national herd” gets a mention in broadcast media, my initial reaction is to change channel or switch off. It’s not that I’m trying to bury my head in the sand on the issue, but the whole debate is increasing in toxicity and polarisation. Lack of successors on farms will see a levelling off in regard to stock numbers over the next 10 years. Level heads on both sides of the argument tend to be ignored for sound bites from the extremists within the debate and in my mind that’s unhelpful.
That said, it may sound odd, but as difficult as it can be to tune into that argument, it largely develops into farmers versus environmentalists or that’s how it ends up being framed at least. It could be worse. A trend in the current debate is that the ire of farmers can be directed at a scapegoat and in some peoples’ eyes, it gives a sense of common purpose. A concern I’d have is what internal divisions could emerge among the different farming sectors when an overall emissions target is decided for agriculture.
Despite it being such a broad societal issue I want to know what it will actually mean for me
The decisions then become focused on who in farming has to face into reductions. Will it be a case of everyone has to take the burden? Will those who have contributed the most emissions have to stump up? Will there be exceptions? That potential to turn farmer on farmer should be a concern. There’s been enough of that already. How will these reductions be measured?
The headlines say the percentage of cuts in emissions from agriculture will be between 22% and 30%. Despite it being such a broad societal issue I want to know what it will actually mean for me. I haven’t a bull’s notion what it will actually mean for the farm. I can’t find any plan that can show a farmer what the consequences for their farm will be for any of those figures, or indeed any figure in-between.
There’s a handbrake up on any form of future planning and even if a figure is decided upon, there is no road map on how it will be achieved
That lack of clarity is very frustrating. There’s a handbrake up on any form of future planning and even if a figure is decided upon, there is no road map on how it will be achieved. Clarity on that is necessary for all our sakes.
Now, I’m off to take my chances in the lotto this week. My chosen numbers for the next draw are 22, 24, 25, 27, 28 and 30. There’s nearly more chance of one of them appearing before the percentage of emissions reductions in agriculture is announced.