Free our farms from red tape or risk ruin.
Mrs Jean Newbould, president of the Three Counties Show, said the Government should provide a strategic policy for farming with a more realistic understanding of the industry.
Speaking before officially opening the three-day show yesterday, she said it had grown from humble beginnings more than 200 years ago and now demonstrated the 'unique excellence and variety of prime produce from British farming'.
But she was worried that not all politicians shared the dire concerns about farming in this country becoming uncompetitive in world markets.
'They say farming will have to trade its way out of the current difficulties,' she said.
'Policy decisions that have done the main damage are things like the fall in cereal prices because of the agreement between European Union and world trade organisations.
'The beef industry was ruined by the handling of BSE, and milk has been deregulated because of European relationships. Over it all, red tape and regulations continue to increase and may soon overwhelm us.'
She added: 'It is a simple premise that a farmer who spends more of his working time in a farm office filling in forms rather than watching and tending his stock, is more likely to miss the signs of trouble, animal distress, danger and disease.
'All the paperwork in the world, or computerised data, will not turn over a cast ewe, or trim an overgrown hoof, or get the cattle back off the road at tea time on Sunday.'
She then suggested a slogan for the show: 'Let Farmers Farm.'
If action was not taken to free farmers from some of the pressures, she said. the extra effects of damage to the farming economy would reach out across rural communities and would be irreversible.
'It will be of little avail to have stringent town and country planning control, green belts, countryside conservation areas and countryside protection acts if those who actually work the land are forced out,' said Mrs Newbould.
'Leaving aside the damage to the natural environment, if mixed farming goes, what will then happen to the land? If in the end, livestock has no value, there will be no animal grazing so essential in conservation.
'If no livestock graze how can the British landscape as we know it survive? The state of deterioration will continue to the point of dereliction and we'll lose the countryside's value to the tourist industry and another downward spiral will begin.'
She appealed for civic dignitaries and local authorities to use every opportunity to help reduce the effects of bureaucracy on farming and farm-produced foods when they saw evidence of over-control or too heavy a hand in use.
Her thoughts were echoed by the Mayor of Worcester, Coun Mary Drinkwater, who said that, although not born into a farming community, she was aware of the value of good produce as a housewife.
She urged people not to weep over the present problems affecting the farming industry and not to blame others but to 'buy British and where there was no choice to actively call for home produce to be sold in shops and supermarkets'.
Baroness Hayman, the Minister of State for Agriculture, was due to visit the Malvern showground today and meet exhibitors at noon. The show ends on Saturday night.
Cattle Supreme Champions:
Hereford: Border Oyster Lass, SW Quan & Co, Hereford.
Aberdeen Angus: Glympton Jace Erica X4, Glympton Farms, Oxford.
Devon: Dingle Unique trespasser, Mrs M Farquhar, Ledbury.
South Devon: Juniper Ulysses, A&P Rickett, Northants.
British Charolais: Mortimers Lotti, Mortimers Farm, Hampshire.