LETTER : What we should ask of farmers

Share
Related Topics
From Mr Nick Brown

Sir: Drought or no drought, it certainly appears to be a bumper year for arable farmers. We hear that the combined effects of a switch within the Common Agricultural Policy from price support to area payments and the unexpectedly high market price for cereals have led to record profit levels. This, and the devaluation of the green pound, have made arable farming a good business to be in.

Conversely, other sectors of the industry, particularly hill sheep farmers who cannot grow cereals, are in a bad way. For those that have the option, I wonder whether we are now likely to see an upsurge in the conversion of pasture to arable land, more pressure towards intensification, and a further loss of landscape and ecological character.

It is vital that we maintain a vibrant rural economy and a profitable agricultural sector. The countryside would be a very different, and much less diverse and attractive place, without farming. It is right that farmers should have the opportunity to make a living, and a good one, in a profession that requires a combination of technical skill, business acumen, commitment and sheer hard work matched in few others.

But in a sector that receives huge amounts of public funds, the taxpayers must be sure to receive the greatest benefit for their investment. This benefit at present comes predominantly in the form of a secure supply of relatively cheap food.

In an age when, thankfully, we do not go hungry, we are entitled to ask for more. Provision for nature conservation, landscape improvement, reduced pollution - these are all "commodities" that the farmer is in a unique position to provide. They should be recognised much more centrally in the CAP, and incorporated as part of society's return for the financial support it is giving to the industry.

None of this means that farmers need suffer. Subsidy levels can still be set to give a good living, and can certainly be adjusted to give greater assistance to hill farmers.

It is simply a case, as customers, of changing our specification to the supplier and ensuring that we get true value for money and public benefit from public funds.

That, surely, is the order of the day.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Brown

Leamington Spa,

Warwickshire

17 August

The writer is Principal Landscape Conservation Officer, Warwickshire County Council.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; Moorgate up to £23k

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Langley James : Desktop Support Analyst; 1st Line; ...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Sales Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fragrance store are looking for enthusias...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role ...

Recruitment Genius: E-commerce Executive - UK / International

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a long-established, renown...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Old London Bridge; how to fight UKIP; and wolves

John Rentoul
Muslim men pray at the East London Mosque  

Sadly, it needs to be said again: being a Muslim is not a crime

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible