A recent episode of the BBC TV show Countryfile  carried a story about problems facing livestock farmers. These issues of supply and rising costs will soon be seen on our supermarket shelves as prices for meat and dairy products is set to rise sharply in the coming months..
Farm animals – especially pigs and chickens – need a decent amount of protein in their diets in order to bulk up and stay healthy. Much of this is provided by soy in their feed.
The UK currently imports 3,300,000 tons of soy a year – mainly from the USA, Brazil and Argentina. Increased freight costs, a doubling of fuel prices, a shortage of drivers and supply chain issues driven by the war in Ukraine are all adding to the problems, which has led to large increases in the price of animal feed.
Another issue is deforestation. The UK Environment Act aims to outlaw the import of commodities whose production is associated with large-scale forest loss (these include cocoa, beef, soy, coffee, maize and palm oil), but it’s difficult to police.
DEFRA is currently offering funding for research into alternative protein sources for animal feed, with fewer air miles, less environmental impact, better sustainability and clearer supply chains, but until that research comes to fruition, we’ll see steep price increases.
Yet another reason to reduce or cut your meat and dairy intake.
 Countryfile, BBC One, 9 October 2022. Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001d0hl/countryfile-harvest