It is an issue that can become only ever more pressing: it is estimated that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people in the world. How to feed them will become one of the most urgent concerns facing national governments. "There's going to be increased global competition, so having strong domestic supply will help insulate us," the NFU's Bicknell said.
After a disastrous 2012, farmers now sense the wind may be changing. The horsemeat scandal has underlined the problems that come when squeezed margins and complex, international food chains collide.
A backlash could be on the cards. Watkins says the butchers of Elgar country are reporting brisk trade as more consumers reappraise the way they value food. Such a trend has been building for years, but maybe 2013 is set to become a tipping point.