There have been many changes to policing in recent decades, and few seem to have improved the service provided in rural areas.
Villagers complain that they rarely see a police officer on patrol, and farmers commonly feel that detection rates for theft are so poor that it is hardly worth reporting offences.
Some of the changes are unlikely to be reversed. Police officers no longer want to live in houses provided by their employers so that particular link with the local community has been broken forever.
Telephone systems become more sophisticated, so that even a call to an apparently local number might be answered a long way distant.
Police forces can be persuaded to give higher priority to business crime - including crime against farm businesses - as can the crime and disorder reduction partnerships that exist to tackle community safety issues.
And we can make use of technological advances and politically popular initiatives.
Low level crime can now be reported online and most local authorities now have an anti-social behaviour unit - sometimes employing a police officer - who can deal with the activities that don't seem to appear on police radar screens.
Crime against businesses is a serious problem in the West Midlands. In the year to March 2004 there were 158,471 business crimes in the region, about 26 per cent of all recorded crime.
CDRPs - increasingly being renamed community safety partnerships - all too often focus on domestic crime and anti-social behaviour in town centres at the expense of business crime.
There's a vicious circle here. Businesses will only get involved in this sort of work if they feel it will lead to tangible benefits for them and their fellow entrepreneurs; the fact that business people have not joined CDRPs in large numbers means their voice is sometimes not heard.
Most CDRPs in the region mention business crime in their strategies but fewer than half describe it as a priority.
Having business crime as a Home Office target would surely help to ensure that police forces give it the priority it deserves.
Warwickshire Police does give priority to business crime, and all CDRPs in the county have a target of reducing such crime by 15 per cent.
The NFU is in discussion with other business groups, in a forum run by the West Midlands Business Council, about the steps that need to be taken. Although we need the support of the Home Office, imposing a solution from above is unlikely to be the best way of getting CDRPs onside.
They need to want to target business crime and make an impact on reducing it.
The CDRPs might take a greater interest in the problems experienced by farmers if they had a better understanding of the issues facing you and the constraints on the way you operate.
So we are talking to the police and others about ways of getting CDRP members out on to farms and visiting other rural businesses.
* David Collier is NFU regional director