UK farmers - wealth & power

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Old Jun 26, 2007, 9:36pm   #11
Joined Jun 2006

Please don’t mention the EU – there may be UK farmers watching this forum, and figure on growing olive groves.

Apparently, French farmers are a significant factor politically (don’t know the figures) in France (Chirac, etc).

A pig farmer couldn’t understand why his broker advised him to invest in gilts.

Ambridge? Carpet bombing is too good.

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Old Jun 27, 2007, 2:44pm   #12
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will bio-fuel farming change the game for farmers perhaps...?

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Old Jun 27, 2007, 2:57pm   #13
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I found this amusing.................


Rt Hon David Miliband MP
Secretary of State.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

16 May 2007

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the “not rearing pigs” business. In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy. I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots or are there too many people already not rearing these?

As l see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in l968. That is until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?

Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the “not milking cows” business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours faithfully,

Nigel Johnson-Hill
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 3:06pm   #14
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shows the absurdity of the communistic EU
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Party on like it's 1930, until Mr C (Wave) gatecrashes the party.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 3:11pm   #15
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that letter reminds me so much of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I am sure I read something similar in that book, but about "not growing" cotton.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 4:28pm   #16
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Pause for thought................. Can large amounts of taxpayers money be justifiably be allocated to an industry that employs 1.8% of the population and contributes less than 9% to Britain's Gross Domestic Product (including merchants, wholesalers, manufacturers and food processors)?

Pause for thought... List 2 other mechanisms which could possibly be used to allocate support to farmers which would provide a distribution of monies more in line with the aims of the EU.

Pause for thought......should agriculture be supported at all? What is the difference between a family farm and a family owned shop that has to compete with the supermarkets?

Pause for thought........ Can you think of examples in other industries in the UK where owners of a resource are paid either not to use the resource, or to manage it in a specific manner?

Read following article by Ashok Sharma in FINANCIAL EXPRESS...

Link for article....

EU farm subsidies help only rich farmers, firms

Posted online: Monday, August 15, 2005 at 0017 hours IST

The European Commission has been fighting shy whenever the issue of farm subsidies is discussed at the WTO. It has been defensive on the issue of subsidies and offensive on gaining market access in the Third World.
A deliberately designed farm support system in the European Union has helped it emerge from a net food importer to a major player in the export market, particularly in the period 1975-88.
The escalated level of farm subsidies became legitimised with the formation of the WTO.
But who does the European Union seek to protect through heavy farm subsidies? It is certainly not the small and marginal farmers.
European subsidies are applied more to industry products than farmers’ produce. For instance, there is more support for butter, skimmed milk powder and cheese of the dairy industry and less for milk.
Export subsidies benefit the food industry and traders, the farmers get little. In the EU, 80% of subsidies are paid to only 20% farmers, most of which are cornered by large farms owned by rich landlords and corporations.
Export subsidies were deliberately instituted to dump the European products in the Third World.
European export subsidies amounted to $8-12 billion in the period 1988-94. Europe, today, is a major exporter of dairy products.
The Court of Auditors, in its special report no 9/2003 regarding the system for setting the rates of export subsidy and export refunds, notes "for significant periods covered by the audit, the Commission’s estimates show that the EU price net of refund is below the world price for certain milk products."
The European price, after deducting refunds, was found lower than the world price, indicating substantial gains for the dairy industry.
At the same time the dairy farmers did not receive any subsidy under the old Common Agriculture Policy, the report of the Court of Auditors indicates.
Another example of the miracle of European subsidies is sugar exports. The EU, today, with its exports of about 5 million tonne of sugar per year, is second to Brazil in marketshare.
Despite the high domestic price of sugar, the EU has been able to export through a combination of direct export subsidies and cross-subsidisation of exported sugar through a production levy paid by farmers. The European consumers suffer on account of high domestic prices.
The major beneficiaries of export subsidies are the corporate houses like Beghin Say, Sudzucker, Tate & Lyle, RT, Danisco and Nordzucker.
Supermarket chains also reap benefits at the cost of farmers. Reports of the UK’s Competition Commission clearly shows that large supermarket chains procure farmers’ produce at relatively cheaper rates and reap huge profits.
For long, European subsidies were shrouded in mystery. It was only in June 2004, that Denmark set an example by making public the beneficiaries of subsidies.
In 2003, out of the total DKK 10 billion subsidy, the leading dairy processor, Arla Foods, cornered DKK 1.3 billion, Danish Crown had DKK 119.6 million (174,658,761 Euro) of the share and the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences had DKK 111.1 million.
Arla Foods got an export subsidy of DKK 1 billion and products-in-production subsidy of DKK 286 million. In 2003 the Danish Agricultural Centre for Advisory Services received DKK 29.9 million and its Board members, including Peter Gaemelke, Henrik Hoegh and chairman Gert Karkov together received subsidies totalling DKK 8.9 million.
A number of members of the Danish Parliament and spouses of ministers were among the beneficiaries.
The Freedom of Information Act compelled the UK to disclose the beneficiaries of subsidies.
The country’s leading sugar company, Tate and Lyle, received the largest payment, more than pound 233,000,000 in export subsidies over the two-year period.
Other major beneficiaries were Meadow Foods, C Czarnikow Sugar, Granox Ltd, Cooperative Centrale Raiffeisen Bank, Philpot Dairy Products, Fayrefield Foods Ireland Ltd, Lisburn Proteins and Nestle UK Ltd.
According to estimates, seven farmers belonging to the nobility class and cattle-breeders received 5,700 Euros per farm per day or 240 Euros per farm per hour in Spain. Agro-industrial firms eg vine sector are also major beneficiaries.
In Denmark, too, the nobility class are major beneficiaries. Prince Joakim received subsidies worth DKK 1.4 million for maintenance of his Schackenborg estate in South Jutland. Similarly, in the UK the Queen received £769,000, Prince Charles received £300,000 in 2003-04.
Instances are clear. European subsidies protect only the agri-business corporations, large and rich farmers and the nobility class at the cost of small and marginal farmers and consumers.
The hefty European subsidies also depress global prices seriously, placing the farmers in the Third World at a competitive disadvantage.
Conscious awakening has dawned in Europe in relation to the unjust subsidies.

Another article from The Press and Journal....



08:50 - 03 March 2007

A Scottish dairy farmer has exploited a glaring loophole in European law to annually earn the right to claim more than £1million in subsidies.
William Hamilton and Sons, of Meldrum Farm, Blairdrummond, Stirling, has taken advantage of a flaw that allows it to get handouts on almost nine times the amount of milk it produces.
Under EU law, the business will continue to qualify for the lottery-size payment annually until 2012 - even if it stops producing milk.
There was political uproar last night after the Press and Journal used the Freedom of Information Act to expose the £1,097,821.78 that is legally being paid to William Hamilton and Sons.
Liberal Democrat deputy rural affairs spokesman Andrew Arbuckle branded it an abuse of the system.
SNP MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead, the party's rural affairs spokesman, added: "The EU paymasters are bonkers if they think this system can be justified and sustained."
Disclosure of the payment and the £37.257million being paid in compensation to 1,512 Scottish dairy farmers comes as the industry bemoans ex-farm milk prices that in many cases are below the cost of production and are forcing three UK dairy farmers a day to quit.
The compensation was introduced by the European Commission in 2004 to make good compulsory price cuts to a range of dairy products over which Europe regulates the price.
But rather than tie the subsidy to the amount of milk a farmer produced - as was demanded by the dairy sector - civil servants and Eurocrats decided instead to allow subsidies to be paid on the milk production quota that farming businesses held on March 31, 2004.
That led to fevered quota buying in the run-up to the date as farmers saw the error that could earn them extra cash.
The P &J understands the Hamiltons started 2004 with the right to produce about 5million litres of milk but by the end of March had 44.1million litres - nine times what their 500-cow dairy herd would be expected to produce.
Bill Hamilton last night declined to comment, saying they had not yet received the cash. Last year the business received £766,394.04 when compensation payments were lower.
The Scottish Executive said the claim from the Hamiltons was legitimate.

In nutshell.......Just cut this Subsidies like US has offered to do if EU does it.....To be fair to the rest of the world.....

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Old Jun 27, 2007, 5:15pm   #17
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JTrader started this thread Thanks for the great examples Zam & Steve, this specifically refers to the type of stuff i vaguely had in mind.

Last edited by JTrader; Jun 27, 2007 at 5:28pm.
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Old Jun 27, 2007, 5:28pm   #18
Joined Dec 2002
JTrader started this thread
Originally Posted by trendie View Post

that letter reminds me so much of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. I am sure I read something similar in that book, but about "not growing" cotton.
I read that book also & sort of know what you mean. Both situations take the p**s, and are very ironic.

The Absolute Power of Bureaucracy
One of the most terrifying aspects of Catch-22 is the fact that the lives and deaths of the men in Yossarian’s squadron are governed not by their own decisions concerning dangerous risks but by the decisions of an impersonal, frightening bureaucracy. The men must risk their lives even when they know that their missions are useless, as when they are forced to keep flying combat missions late in the novel even after they learn that the Allies have essentially won the war. The bureaucrats are absolutely deaf to any attempts that the men make to reason with them logically; they defy logic at every turn. Major Major, for example, will see people in his office only when he is not there, and Doc Daneeka won’t ground Yossarian for insanity because Yossarian’s desire to be grounded reveals that he must be sane....................

Number of Missions
Colonel Cathcart wants to be promoted to general; to gain promotion, he constantly raises the number of missions that the men are required to fly before they can be discharged. The number of missions increases as time goes on, providing us with one of the few ways we have of keeping track of the chronology of Catch-22. The number of missions is also the primary trap from which the men in the squadron are unable to escape: each time Hungry Joe completes his missions or Yossarian comes near completing them, the number is raised yet again. The utter futility of trying to get out of the system the honest way, by flying the required number of missions, is what prompts Orr and Yossarian to seek alternative methods of escape............

Chocolate-Covered Cotton
Aided by Yossarian, Milo comes up with the idea of selling chocolate-covered cotton to the government after he discovers that there is a glut of cotton in the market and that he cannot sell his own cotton. Milo’s product hides the lack of substance beneath an enticing exterior, showing the way in which bureaucracy can be fooled by appearances and is unable to measure actual substance or real merit.

PS. I have nothing at all against farmers, (besides the fact they own all the land, often begrudge people access to their land, secretly live off the people in the form of EU subsidies, but would have you believe they don't have 2 pennies to rub together!) I used to help on a friends farm and enjoyed it.

Last edited by JTrader; Jun 27, 2007 at 6:06pm.
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