THE 'sensationalists' yet again sought to sully the red meat industry this week: "Meat tax would save lives and cut health bills" was screamed from even some of the more reputable broadsheets, which should know better than to distort even further some skewed scientific views.

Again, the impression was given that eating meat is 'bad' for you and quite clearly, the public were meant to think that all meat consumption was bad, while somewhere in the depths of most of the stories lay the truth – it was actually a tirade against heavily processed meats, like smoked bacon and some sausages. The staple diet for many of a certain age, beefburgers, when produced properly, are fine ... but no one seemed to want to know that.

The truth – and the science shows – is that humans do best on a healthy, balanced diet. That includes red meat, white meat and even pink meat. Our meat industry body, QMS, is to be commended for pointing out that eating meat provides many of the essentials for healthy living, especially in the iron it supplies to women and young girls, 40% of whom lack iron in their diet.

But it has no control over how this can be skewed or added on as a throwaway line at the end of an article. There's a big knowledge gap out there amongst the public, that we should all help to fill in, and every farmer and his family should arm themselves with the necessary facts that would counter most of the criticism.

The problem that the industry as a whole faces, is that sometimes there are none so blind as those that will not see!

High-rise farming

VERTICAL farming looks like a seriously capital-intensive business (see pages 18 and 19) and it will be hard for many to appreciate whether it will have a long-term future. But it will.

Most likely it will be used to produce high-value, low weight foodstuffs, such as salads, some vegetables and fruit, all in controlled environments. These 'farms' could even be situated in disused brownfield sites near to conurbations. Fresh food on the doorstep of those best placed to consume it and, most importantly, pay for it?

Think of it as a vertical poly tunnel ... and it wasn't that long ago that we'd never even heard of polytunnels.