This week our readers got talking about Cumbrian farmers facing predicted cost rises of up to 300 per cent, which could lead to a 'massive wipeout' of huge sections of the farming community.

Farmers are paying sky-high prices for fertiliser, fuel, energy and feed, and some agricultural sectors could be facing labour shortages again this year, as a result of Brexit and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Wigton dairy farmer and National Farmers Union (NFU) Cumbria County Chairman, Ian Bowness, told a meeting of farmers that he had been quoted 120ppl for red diesel - three months ago that price had been 60ppl.

Mr Bowness said he had been limited to purchasing 500 litres. "I can get two days done of that amount and then I'll have no diesel on the farm," he said.
Similarly, fellow Cumbrian farmer and Red Tractor chair, Alistair Mackintosh, said last year he had paid £270/t for fertiliser and is currently forking out £970t.

"We need support from Government to see farmers through this crisis. This will not stop when the war ends, it has long-term implications and farm businesses are already facing cash-flow challenges," he said. 

The message being sent due to increased cost and hardship, many may end up leaving the farming industry as a result, and worse we may end up with a food shortage. 

Our reader, Alexandra Mounsey, said: "The government think we can rely on importing our food. The UK only produces 50 per cent of our own food. The government are too busy building all over prime farm land."

Debbie Dalgliesh wrote: "Yes we should support our farmers. We should be more self sufficient. Grow and make things in the UK. These last couple of years have only proved that."

Amanda Collinson said: "They are the ones feeding us. If they can't afford to do it and stop doing it, we will get very hungry very quickly. You might be ok with that, but I'm not."

A reader by the alias of Outdoor Enthuasiast, was of a different opinion however, they said: "There won't be food shortages just bigger farm's and less farm's with small acreage. So less farmers, not less food production and maybe economies of scale will mean farmers will actually be profitable."

READ MORE: Massive cost rises could see Cumbrian farmers struggle to stay in business