ENGLISH FARMING has a proud heritage.

It drove agriculture elsewhere in the world with people, expertise and livestock breeds. It spawned giant businesses that created a food chain from South America and the southern hemisphere to fill shelves on High Streets still reeling from the austerity and shortages of the 1940s.

This week that proud heritage was thrown away by the UK government. Its ideologically driven plans will swap food production for an unproven green nirvana. They will change English farmers from being proud food producers to park keepers.

The sad thing is that this was seemingly accepted. The farming lobby in England was not up in arms. The only farmer I heard interviewed by the BBC thought it was a brilliant idea.

It seemed that only MPs on the Westminster committee that monitors Defra were ready to pour cold water on this thinking, warning the inevitable consequence would be more imported food. The net result would be a problem exported and no impact on global climate change. However these policies are being pursued by Boris Johnson with the zeal of a convert who has found a new religion. Maybe farmers and the farming lobby have simply given up the fight.

Maybe they are too cowed by the green lobby to stand up for the honest graft of producing food to feed a nation. Whatever the reason, it seems, to paraphrase the poet TS Eliot, that a once proud industry is set to end 'not with a bang but with a whimper'.

Farmers in England that supported Brexit – and if polls are right they did so in numbers not seen in Scotland – must feel let down. Promises came from the leader of that campaign, the aforementioned Boris Johnson. On that basis it is no surprise that over Brexit and agriculture he and his then seeker of the rural vote, the disgraced Owen Paterson, played fast and loose with the truth.

The promise then of a support structure to create a globally competitive, productive farming industry was as realistic as promises about millions of pounds of extra cash from Brexit for the NHS. Instead English farmers are in danger of ending up looking with envy towards the EU they voted to leave, while visiting supermarkets with shelves stacked with imported food.

Scottish farmers, regardless of politics, now have sound reasons to be grateful they are not English. The same applies in Northern Ireland, but that does not guarantee immunity from the trends in England. Green pressures are universal and politicians are being swayed.

Right across the UK we have got the entire food equation wrong. We are valuing the wrong outcomes from agriculture and accepting that green outcomes are compatible with packing shelves with food transported half way around the world and produced under conditions politicians here would deem unacceptable.

Devolution is easing the impact of the green drive in Scotland, but it is not a guarantee that the right priorities for agriculture will be pursued. Farmers and the farming lobby must not accept that the English model can ever become the norm for Scotland. They must ensure consumers understand the realities and challenges of this skewing of what agriculture is all about. Green outcomes are great, welcome and needed but they must be a by-product of family farming and food production that sustains rural jobs as well as biodiversity.

We are in danger of allowing the media blindness to the reality that Veganuary creates being extended to a year-round campaign against food production as we know it. The percentage of the population that is vegan is tiny, despite the PR mat laid at their door each year.

The EU makes much of its green initiatives but its policy remains rooted in producing food and food security. Brussels is green, but each month it is equally proud to deliver statistics showing it is the world's biggest trader in food and agriculture, with a massive positive balance between imports and exports.

Brexit has had no impact on the EU's trade with the UK, while exporters here suffer. Indeed, in its most recent report, the EU said food exports to the UK had topped pre-Brexit levels. That contrasts with the UK situation, where we have allowed politicians to threaten our biggest market and to use Brexit as a back door way to bring about a fundamental shift in what the business of farming is all about.