Letter: Down on the farm

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Sean Rickard's article "Why should taxpayers prop up our inefficient farmers?" (5 January) is based on a terrifying misconception.

Farming is not an industry. It is a trust. A farmer's duties go beyond simply providing food; he must also ensure that he leaves the land in good heart for future generations, that his livestock is suitable for further breeding and that the environment is respected so that it will sustain our descendants.

The reclassification of farming as an industry has meant the replacement of these obligations with the simple yardstick of greed. The result has been chicken stocks rife with salmonella, beef herds with BSE and our cereals polluted with chemicals.

No wonder Mr Rickard has defected from the National Farmers' Union to a school of management.

TERRY JONES

London SE5

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