With the University of Reading providing the best Agriculture degree in the whole of the UK, RUSU should adopt a policy to support the Back British Farming campaign which would lead them to become the first university and students union to pledge their support to the campaign.</p>
The policy would show a clear interest to educate and help students understand how food gets to their plate, as well as show support for British farming of which the University has a large agriculture department that partakes in world leading research to improve agriculture and the food we eat. British farming demonstrates some of the highest welfare standards in the world, and students plus the wider audience they influence should be aware of the difference in animal welfare standards between the UK and other countries who stock food on our supermarket shelves.</p>
Whilst the student budget doesn’t allow for high spending in supermarkets, we all need to eat and educating all shareholders of the university about looking for the Red Tractor logo on food will assure the consumer that they are eating food which has full traceability. The Red Tractor logo is the only way to assure you are Backing British, and looking for farm brand names on packaging may just be a marketing ploy.</p>
The Back British Farming campaign also promotes the benefits of the countryside, offering a multitude of ways in which the green areas which surround the centre of Reading can be optimised. Farmers in the UK have planted or restored 30,000km of hedgerows to provide food and shelter for wildlife, along with looking after 93% of protected wildlife habitats from which the general public can enjoy the benefits. Linking the Environment And Farming (LEAF) operate a day every year called Open Farm Sunday, where with the support from the NFU and many other industry sponsors farms all over the UK open their doors to the general public to allow them to see the workings of the farm and what effort goes into the produce you see in a supermarket.</p>
University students are always tight for money, but there should be no cost put on the welfare of animals and the assurance that the food you are eating has full traceability. By educating students on the importance of the Red Tractor logo and checking where animals were reared, not just where the produce was manufactured, the University of Reading’s students will be satisfied they know exactly where the food has come from on their plate.</p>
The National Farmers Union has already shown support for the cause and is willing to work with RUSU on the campaign, and the university believe the idea is very good and will also help in any way possible. The relationship with the NFU should lead to very good press for the university and RUSU, which will create a better profile of the university in the minds of the public.</p>Idea submitted by Luke Cox.