The scale of changes to the countryside in the last 50 years has been vast. The push towards more ‘efficient’ methods of production has resulted in larger, more simplified and more specialised agricultural enterprises that use bigger machines, more fertilisers, pesticides and faster-growing but less resilient varieties of crops and breeds of livestock. Agricultural communities have been decimated by these changes: farms have gone out of business, jobs lost and the conditions of the work that there is – often dictated by the demands of the supermarkets – means that much of it is done by migrant labour. There is a danger that, feeling ignored by seemingly prosperous cities, those in rural communities who have lost out turn to political extremists who seem at least to give them someone to blame for their plight: migrants and the ‘metropolitan elite’. Thus in 2016 the base of support for Trump was in rural America, and in the UK support for Brexit was highest in Lincolnshire, an area of intensive arable agriculture.
This article by Green House's Anne Chapman examines the future of farming and agriculture.
Anne Chapman on The Future of Farming in Green World.