English farmers vs the Globalists

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This is kind of strange. What do you all make of this? On the one hand, subsidies are (imo) just government hadnouts, but on the other hand, it sure sounds like agriculture is over on anything other than a huge corporate level in England.

article

Farmers will need 'green licence' to get subsidies By Rachel Sylvester (Filed: 23/01/2002)

FARMERS will be required to have a licence guaranteeing that they will work the land in an environmentally friendly way to qualify for Government subsidies.

This is one of the sweeping proposals to transform agriculture to be announced next week.

The policy commission on the future of farming and food, set up by Tony Blair last summer in response to the foot and mouth crisis, will call for farmers to be paid for their role as custodians of the countryside rather than producers of food.

They will be struck off the national register and lose state funding if they do not reach minimum environmental standards.

"Some farmers would go out of business if they stuck to their current working methods," one source close to the commission said. "They would not be able to farm without a licence."

The proposal will infuriate farmers, many of whom are struggling since the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and BSE.

However, the members of the commission, which includes representatives of environmental groups, supermarkets and farmers, argue that a "sea change" in working methods is needed if the agriculture sector is to survive.

"Environmental standards are now seen as the key driver," the source said.

The commission, chaired by Sir Donald Curry, the former head of the Meat and Livestock Commission, is planning to recommend that the Government should double the amount of EU money it spends on green activities rather than food production.

At present, Britain uses 4.5 per cent of its common agricultural policy funds on environmental grants and the commission's report is likely to argue that this should be raised to 10 per cent, equivalent to 100 million a year.

The money would have to be matched by an extra 100 million from the Treasury in the first year. Under EU law, a member state can transfer up to 20 per cent of its CAP funding to environmental, rather than food production, subsidies.

In addition, the commission is expected to call for Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, to allocate further resources - probably about 100 million more in the first year - to a series of measures designed to transform the operation of farms.

Farmers should form continental-style co-operatives to deal with the supermarkets, the report says. This would give them more bargaining power with the big chains and redress the balance between the producers and the sellers.

It would also encourage supermarkets to sell more local products - something which many shops are keen to do. The idea has been agreed by Sir Peter Davis, the group chief executive of Sainsbury's and a commission member.

The commission is also planning to propose the creation of a more stringent quality assurance scheme to encourage customers to buy British farm products.

It says the red tractor logo which appears on food produced in this country has failed to win public confidence and should be replaced

by a more robust scheme. An advisory service for farmers should also be set up to help people manage the huge changes which are likely in the next few years, the commission said.

The Prime Minister has made clear that he wants to give farmers a much greater role in protecting the environment and preserving the landscape.

The policy commission was set up to advise the Government on "how we can create a sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food sector." Its terms of reference make clear that the rural economy should advance "environmental, economic, health and animal welfare goals".

A consultation document, produced by the commission last year, said that farming was in crisis even before the foot and mouth epidemic.

"British farmers are finding it hard to compete in an increasingly globalised market place," it said. "Despite very substantial public subsidy to agriculture, farming incomes are at their lowest for 30 years.

"At the same time there are major perceived problems of animal health, food safety and the nutritional quality of food, of environmental degradation and of continued decline in wildlife diversity in the countryside."

-- Doreen (animalwaitress@yahoo.com), January 25, 2002

Answers

I believe our friend Eric from Great Britian had predicted something like this during the hoof and mouth epidemic. The farmers there had been organized into a political party with some clout, so the gov is now busy castrating them by breaking them financially. Ah, good old Tony Blair and his group of thugs. And yes, it does seem the squeeze is being placed on farmers in an effort to put out all the smaller ones so the larger ones can make more money. I could visualize it being done here too. In some ways it already has, except here it is the groceries that have squeezed out the smaller farmer because so many of them will only buy from a wholesale warehouse and not the farmer himself so that the small farmer usually has no market because the warehouse will only buy in terms of tons of each type of produce.

And don't forget the UN's comments about it being perfectly acceptable to use food as a weapon. I fear the time is approaching when that is going to be the norm.

-- Green (ratdogs10@yahoo.com), January 25, 2002.


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