The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the fragilities of our food supply system.

As economic activity has ground to a halt in much of Wales, farming has remained vital to our national survival.

Farmers working hard to feed the nation are enjoying some well-deserved gratitude amid renewed enthusiasm for buying homegrown produce.

Why did it take a pandemic to jolt the public into appreciating farmers?

In this modern era, thanks to huge advances in food production techniques, we have the luxury of being picky and sanctimonious eaters.

In recent years, farming has been used as a punch bag for environmental, climate change and animal rights issues.

Driven by inaccurate and irresponsible reporting in the mainstream media, farmers morphed from being custodians of the Welsh countryside and producers of high welfare food to public enemy number one.

Farmers have been bullied, insulted and threatened as single issue groups dictating diet and life choices to the rest of society are given free rein to push their agendas

The more that misinformation is repeated on ‘trusted’ media sources, the more the public are persuaded by them.

Lost among all those negative messages is the fact that farmers have strict rules and guidelines that they must adhere to.

Farmers are constantly improving their systems and that has nothing to do with activists and everything to do with farmers caring about their animals and their industry.

Food production has shot to the top of the agenda in recent weeks but will that sentiment to be translated into government policy when this crisis is over?

No-one knows for sure what the economic impact of the current lockdown but a period of austerity is likely.

The Welsh Government is reforming the farm support system and its priorities could change as a result of the pandemic.

Will food production be given greater weight in the new schemes the government is proposing?

Food production was not recognised as a ‘public good’ in the schemes the government has consulted on. Will a better balance now be struck between producing food and the environmental goods of improvements to our soils and water and air quality?

Covid-19 will inevitably impact on the development of policy but it is a long road to the translating of a sentiment stimulated by a crisis into political action and long-term policy.