Alarming Farming

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Farming subsidies what are they for anyway? They are supposed to be for levelling out the bumps in the road inherent in farming which means the weather basically causing fluctuations in production which makes it difficult to plan your business. That’s my view anyway. Other businesses aren’t protected quite like this, I guess that is because food is important stuff, I eat some every day. It seems important to keep farming going for all sorts of reasons. Good. So farm subsidies are a noble thing if that is what they are used for.

Remain say we will lose those lovely farm payments from Brussels if we leave. Leave are saying we won’t (something of a pattern to these arguments).

Leave say if we leave the subsidies that come from the EU will come direct and perhaps faster because the cash doesn’t do a trip round Brussels on the way. The EU bureaucracy causes delays to farms already on a knife edge.

I would hesitate to say whether our bureaucracy would be any quicker hmm… but I also don’t think our government would just abandon farmers. Also see my “Mountain or Mole Hill”.

I’m sure we could do better for our farmers and our food security and I’m suspicious that the EU Common Agricultural Policy is biased against UK farmers. I’ve heard that it favours farms that happen to be closest to the most common farm size in continental Europe, I need to verify that. But we do have different sized farms for historical reasons.

Despite this and all the rules (good and bad) our fantastically entrepreneurial farmers still manage to export 14% of our poultry and 19% of our pork to other EU countries. But there is still a vast capacity in the domestic market if export trading did become more difficult. For farming it cuts both ways. If food trade with the EU reduces then the domestic market grows.

Also recent UK government seem more supportive of farming than some we have had in the last 40 years, they realize that farming and food security (i.e. being able to grow our own) is a desirable thing. Recently at a National Sheep Association do the Food and Farming Minister George Eustance gave “strong and progressive messages” (Southewest Farmer newspaper). He, at least, was able to suggest what structures might be put in place if we leave the EU. Evidently he has been planning what might happen in a post Brexit world.

So I don’t think the farming prognosis is necessarily as bad as people are saying. And here we do see an example of a minister doing his job and getting his bases covered. Wow never thought I’d say that.

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