Norfolk farmer’s ‘surreal experience’ taking food messages to the London masses

The Red Tractor team at the Lord Mayor's Show in London. Pictured from left: Andrew Blenkiron, Debbi

The Red Tractor team at the Lord Mayor's Show in London. Pictured from left: Andrew Blenkiron, Debbie Broad, Bex Broad, Peter Bawn, Vicky Smith, Melanie Momber, Sarah Lane, Dawn Howell and Adrian Howell. Picture: NFU - Credit: NFU

A King's Lynn farmer has described the 'surreal' moment he stood in the shadow of London's St Paul's Cathedral with a combine harvester, being watched by 600,000 people.

Adrian and Dawn Howell took part in the Lord Mayor's Show on November 10, which was also broadcast to millions more on television.

The couple were part of a team promoting British farming and the Red Tractor Assurance logo to the public.

Mr Howell manages a joint venture providing labour, machinery and management services to three family farms either side of King's Lynn. In total he is responsible for farming 2,400 hectares of farmland.

'I thought taking part in the show would be a useful experience to see first-hand how our customers reacted to food producers,' he said.

'We need to try and show people where their food comes from, how it is produced and the problems we face from climate, world markets and pressure groups.'

Those lining the streets would have struggled to miss them. The farmers were accompanied by a huge Massey Ferguson Ideal 9T combine which holds 17,100 litres of grain – enough to produce 24,000 loaves of bread.

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'Two things from the day stood out for me,' said Mr Howell. 'The first was the initial surreal experience of standing next to a combine harvester under the shadow of St Paul's cathedral.

'The second was hearing a young girl of about five-years-old turning to her mum when she saw the Red Tractor placards and saying she saw the logo on the milk and butter at home.'

Mr Howell is one of 46,000 Red Tractor farmers in the UK, producing food carrying the logo which indicates to shoppers that the product is 'safe, traceable and farmed with care'.