Cuttings: Farmers in retreat

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SHOCK] Horror] The National Farmers' Union will not be exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show this year. Its huge and dramatic display of fruit and vegetables is usually one of the show's great attractions, an important antidote to too many selections of tasteful perennials.

Like everyone else, the NFU is trimming expenditure. It is also reorganising its priorities. It now wants to place greater emphasis on teaching schoolchildren about the countryside and what it can produce, about farmers and their role in rural communities and the food industry.

'We very much hope that it may be possible to return to Chelsea in the future,' said David Naish, president of the NFU. So do I.