In the WB Yeats poem about an Irish airman contemplating his own death in conflict, 'somewhere above the clouds above', the pilot acknowledges that for his small village, death or victory will not leave people feeling loss or 'happier than before'.

For farmers it is beginning to feel a bit like that, as the hopefuls battle it out to lead the Conservative party, with the bonus of then becoming prime minister. All are promising the three card trick of cutting taxes without really cutting public spending; all are trying to outdo each other on the issues which the party members that will decide the winner view as important – taxes, Brexit and immigration.

None are saying what farmers want to hear – that they will again put food and farming, as great indigenous industries, back at the centre of the economy. Even better would be to hear a candidate say they will follow the EU lead – probably a kiss of death concept for any aspiring Conservative party leader – and put food security front and centre of a radical agricultural and food policy. That is probably too much to expect, so like that hapless Irish airman, no outcome of the process to replace a deeply flawed leader will leave farmers happier than before.

It is easy now to see the economic logic of the EU in making food security a key issue. Each successive report on the state of the global food industry makes gloomier reading for consumers already struggling with prices on supermarket shelves.

In a few months trends built up over decades have been reversed and the era of cheap food has come to an abrupt end. There are no factors in play to put things back to where they were. After years when people expected to spend a falling share of their income on food this is going in the opposite direction.

This is clear on supermarket shelves and in the data they mine from loyalty cards. People are shopping more often but spending less on each visit; people are switching away from brands to own labels and seeking out bargains in the low overhead discount retailers.

These would be boom price times for farmers, if only their costs were not rising even faster than the higher prices being passed on to consumers. What farmers have won, certainly in the EU but not necessarily here, is a new respect from consumers.

The EU has just published its latest short term market outlook report for the major commodities. This stresses the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had on global food and agriculture markets and the terrifying speed with which these effects have been felt in every market, from the most developed countries to the poorest dependent on food imports.

It is a sobering thought that, according to the EU, since the invasion of Ukraine in February costs for farmers have increased by a third. The faint good news is that there are some signs the rise and rise of grain prices is beginning to ease, mainly because of more optimistic forecasts for the global grain harvest. However in the EU the weather is beginning to take a toll on yields, with harvest estimates being reduced.

The EU says grain production will be 2.5% down on last year, but thanks to good carry-over stocks there is no prospect of shortages and the EU will be in a position to export grain. Thanks to the decision to allow protein crops and oilseeds to be grown on set aside land there has been a small but welcome increase in these.

Dairy prices are good in Europe and will remain that way for all the right reasons – strong domestic and export markets driving demand. Production is down because of weather impacts on grazing, but high costs for farmers are taking the gloss off record prices.

Even with higher beef prices lower cow numbers are continuing to drive down production; poultry is stable, but pigs are caught in a perfect storm of falling export demand, tougher environmental restrictions and massively higher costs for feed and energy.

These are all the normal problems of the cycle that drives agricultural markets, but the fallout from Ukraine casts a huge shadow over all fortunes, good and bad. This is why if anyone gets the chance they should ask any aspiring Conservative party leader whether they would put food security top of their agenda, and if not, why not.