Farming in Britain needs our support
Farming in Britain has been stifled by rules, regulations, laws, and administrative paperwork since the early EEC days.
All existing grants supporting British farmers for vital, ongoing environmental work will be withdrawn by 2028.
Why does our Government treat our farmers so badly? Why are our farmers not supported?
Approximately 70% of UK land is farmed, but we are only producing about 49% of our domestic needs.
Farming as an industry in Britain, has been in decline since the end of the Second World war.
Although rationing which had been in force in Britain during the war, this encouraged many people to resort to turning their garden lawns and borders into mini allotments, in order to provide fresh vegetables for much of the year as a bonus to their allowances. This practice died out with the introduction to Britain of the SuperMarket.
After the war, the farming industry in Britain should of boomed, providing work and food for the nation, but it didn’t.
The Governments of the day decided that it was in all our interests to enter into a global trading frenzy, shipping much of food in from abroad, lessons learnt no doubt from the war.
However, the policy of not producing much of our own food by using our own farms across Britain, soon exposed flaws in Government thinking.
The cruelest of times for the British people since the end of WW2, was the era of the 3 day week of the 1970’s. The Tory Government, lead by P.M Ted Heath were eventually brought down by trade union actions.
Haulage, Railways & Dockers unions, supported by the Coal mining & Steel production Unions, all came together to help bring the country to it’s knees. No food, no petrol, no energy.
During the strike actions over a 20 years period, the UK was often held to ransom by Union action, forcing Governments to give into the demands of the unions.
The strongest of the joint Union’s actions were finally overcome by the stronger leadership from a later Tory Government, lead by Margaret Thatcher.
The introduction of new, specific legislation, aimed at preventing the UK from being held to ransom by it’s own work forces ever again, seemed to work for the most of us. Such scenes seen throughout the 1970’s have not been seen since in the UK.
In 1961, Britain had joined the European Economic Co-operation (OEEC). Working towards potentially, better trading agreements with other members, with less tariffs & less restrictions, Europe was a much more divided and less trusting community that it is today.
In 1973, Britain, along with Denmark & Ireland, fully joined the then E.E.C (European Economic Community).
Common Agricultural Policy
Having joined the EEC, Britain was then obliged to adopt the Common Agricultural Policy of the community. This was a fund which each member country was indebted to contribute to. The mechanism of who paid what was complex, and often deemed to be seen as unfair.
The majority of the money raised from the Common Agricultural Policy appeared to be handed to the only true beneficiaries, the French farmers.
British farmers seemed to miss out on the same grants, concessions and privileges that their French counterparts were being handsomely rewarded for.
This policy resulted in huge amounts of over production by some countries, described at the time as butter mountains and wine lakes.
British Farmers, Post Brexit.
The UK officially left the European Union (which had developed from the EEC), on January 31st 2020.
In 2016, the UK produced just 49% of its own food, but were importing a further 30 percent of it’s food from the EU.
Brexit had seemed to have given British farmers an element of hope, but the current UK Government seems determined to finish farming in Britain as we knew it.
The grants of which British farmers can receive today, will be stopped in 2028. The Government intends to phase out the grants and will expect farmers to diversify to make up the differences and losses.
The UK Government should be looking at promoting and supporting British farmers for the whole good of the farming industry, and the UK. But, all grants are proposed to be taken away by 2028 and the paperwork mountain just gets bigger.
The first way to help British farmers would be to eliminate the huge demand for paperwork. Most of the paperwork is unnecessary, although from a food safety aspect records must be kept.
A serious review of what paperwork and form filling is actually necessary to British farmers and the UK farming industry should be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
Pig farming in some form, has been successful in Britain since the middle ages.
However, the pork industry that it has now become, has been allowed to gradually reduce in size, & most noticeably since the millennium, to the point that the UK can now only produces 50% of it’s requirements.
The number of pig producers is now recorded as being only 60% of that of pre-2000.
Some suggest that the demise is due to a number of factors, mainly costs related, but in 1999, new welfare standards for pigs were introduced and that seems to have had a major impact.
Since leaving the E.U, attempts are also being made by ministers to get tariffs significantly reduced on pork exports to USA, Norway, Liechtenstein & Iceland.
By exporting what little pork we nationally produce, causes higher domestic prices in UK shops, and keeps the UK pig farming industry artificially deflated.
A new policy encouraging our home grown pork is needed. The industry needs to be built up, not broken down. When we can produce enough for our own needs, only then should the UK consider exporting UK pork and pork products.
A new political party is needed to re-balance our own sustainability, demands and global warming.
In 2020, it was estimated that there were approximately 9.4 million cattle in the UK, of which 2,038,202 were slaughtered as prime cattle.
It was also considered that the beef farming industry contributed £2.8 BILLION to the UK economy.
UK beef farming methods are said to be 2.5 more efficient than global averages, and 4 times more efficient than those countries who chose to engage in deforestation in order to rear beef cattle.
This is due mainly to the methods used by British beef farmers. Cattle are fed mainly on grass, and self fertilise the same ground they graze on as a result. The grass is a natural means of absorbing carbon, and as a result emissions from UK livestock account for only 5% of the nations carbon footprint.
Beef farming relies on pasture for grazing. This also helps prevent soil depletion, which occurs where arable farming takes place, a sort of man-made soil erosion. Farmers growing grass prevents this.
Certain beef cattle can be raised and kept on areas in Britain where growing crops is impossible, i.e the baron areas of Wales and the Scottish Highlands, areas where the land would be uninhabited and unprofitable.
The UK produces only 75% of it’s own beef consumption, importing 242,828 tonnes in 2020.
Yet again there is a need for the UK Government to support and build up, not only increasing beef farming, but the whole UK food production / farming industry.
Again, a new political party is needed to work with farmers for the good of UK food production overall. Farmers should be advising Governments on the UK Farming industry and farming policies, not pen pushing Civil Servants.
With over 1,500 industrial sized poultry farms in the UK and over 20 million birds slaughtered each week, poultry is the UK’s most popular meat.
We each consume about 35 kg of poultry meat a year, contributing £4.5 BILLION to the UK economy each year. The UK exports over £500 million of poultry each year.
Poultry farming supports directly and in-directly, over 35,000 jobs in the UK, with an additional 13,000 seasonal jobs in the run up to Christmas.
As individuals, we consume 200 eggs annually, and as a nation, 12 billion eggs are eaten annually in the UK.
In addition to poultry meat, the industry also creates egg production.
Each year, over 11 BILLION hens eggs are laid in the UK, which is almost 90% of the UK domestic demand.
The UK egg production industry contributes @ £1 BILLION per annum to our economy, supported by another 13,000 employees.
Arable farming mainly occurs in the East and South west of England and Eastern Scotland, primarily due to the flatter topography of the land in these areas.
The main crops grown are wheat, oats and barley. Rape seed is also grown quiet extensively across Britain. British farmers harvest more than 16 million tonnes of wheat a year, most of which is milled into flour. Over 8 million tonnes of barley is produced per annum and is used mainly in the brewery and distillery industries.
Arable farming in Britain injects over £4 million into the UK economy per annum, and employs over 100,000 individuals.
The beef on our supermarket shelves come from Australia, Scotland and Ireland. Our vegetables had come from Africa, India and South America.
Today, in September 2021, our supermarkets are selling apples from New Zealand, Chile and South Africa. No apples on sale were sourced from Britain.
Some basic supplies do originate from the UK, but not many, certainly not enough are home grown & this makes no sense at all.
Britain is reliant upon the seasons of the weather to produce affordable, quality food products, making farming an unpredictable business.
Britain needs to produce a lot more of what we eat from within our own shores, and reduce the dependence we now have of needing to fly most of the UK’s food needs in from across the globe.
How can it be cheaper to export beef from Australia than to buy British beef?
Australian beef cattle are fed on grain which has a cost. British cattle graze on grass at no cost.
Australia is farming cattle which need to be transported, dead or alive across Australia to an Australian seaport, to then be shipped half way across the world to the UK.
British beef can be raised, grazed, slaughtered, butchered and eaten within 20 miles. A principle probably similar to Lamb / sheep production. There’s no sense to this type of trading.
Newly accepted global trade deals with which our Government has been so eager to sign up to, is a knee jerk reaction to the Brexit fallout. These global deals will result in major backward steps in trying to reduce the global & UK carbon footprints, and therefore will only worsen climate change.
British farmers and our farming industry, & considering our effects on climate change, must be our first choice & first option.
A much more domestically sustainable food production plan, centered around British farmers which supports or farming industry,needs to be developed and then implemented by the UK Government as a matter of urgency.
A plan that is conceived and implemented by British Farmers, for the good of the future of the British Farming Industry.
British farmers need support and encouragement from any UK Government. There need to be more farmers in Government, not land owners and rich kids to represent the farming industries and interests.
Britain needs a New Political Party to make the UK as self-sustainable as possible.