A farmer writes

The Secretary of State was very clear that in seven years, British farmers are going to be competing with farmers from across the globe without the support of any subsidy for farming itself. It is about the oldest of neoliberal dreams — killing off state involvement and throwing open our country (and countryside) to free trade and deregulation.

Yep, good, innit?

We are to be collateral damage as the politicians try to deliver Brexit at any cost, imposing free trade, deregulating the countryside and unleashing wilfully blind free-market economics on farming.

Sounds most tasty.

21 thoughts on “A farmer writes”

  1. James Rebanks is a fell farmer and the best-selling author of The Shepherd’s Life. His new book, English Pastoral, came out in September 2020

    Doesn’t sound like this Oxbridge-educated posho is too busy with actual farming.

  2. Sheep farming in Britain only exists in its current form because of subsidy and the benefits system. The largest part of the land is owned by people (businesses, investors) who don’t farm it. Celebrity farmers like Rebanks know they make no money but can get a living writing about or appearing on telly about the sheep they raise. Most other sheep farmers are broke, trapped on unprofitable farms doing a job they mostly hate.
    https://theviewfromcullingworth.blogspot.com/2020/06/there-is-little-money-and-they-are.html

  3. ‘We are to be collateral damage as the politicians try to deliver Brexit at any cost, imposing free trade, deregulating the countryside and unleashing wilfully blind free-market economics on farming.’

    Wow! This ‘Brexit’ is powerful stuff. BUT, NFW UK actually permits free trade, deregulation, and free-market economics.

  4. “Celebrity farmers like Rebanks know they make no money but can get a living writing about or appearing on telly about the sheep they raise. ”

    Nail on the head. Its why there’s so many mountebanks swirling around the farming industry, all telling them how they should farm, the preaching makes more money than the farming.

    As for a deregulated UK farming industry, the chance would be a fine thing.

  5. So the Guardinista’s want to keep Rich/posh people subsidies paid for by shelf-stackers on minimum wage?
    What a surprise.

    Could be even this Dorismageddon of a Government will get something right. Lower food and wine tariffs, and we can all benefit: and stiff the French at the same time. Win-Win.

  6. “James Rebanks”: I didn’t like that first book of his at all. Like Ernest Hemingway – plain inauthentic.

  7. OK, here’s a synergistic suggestion, muntjack farming. They are there anyway, why not kill ’em and eat ’em?

  8. all the good.etc.
    yeah and with free trade a frozen leg of lamb from NZ should be half the price of anything grown up in them thar hills. The lake district will still be there, i’ll pop up there now and then buy a herwdick bobble hat and a crumpet (and expect them to bring me the finest wines known to humanity). It’ll be fine.

  9. Didn’t the Grauniad’s fav country (New Zealand) chop all their farm subsidies in 1985?

    And begin a phased out removal of all tariffs too.

  10. How does the Graun reconcile the subsidising of sheep farming with their belief that trees should be everywhere? Sheep are the reason the hillsides have so few trees.

  11. Not all sheep farming is hill farming – England has plenty of downland that is unsuitable for arable farming but which is ideal pasture although this isn’t to say that much hasn’t been ploughed up to follow financial incentives.

    We’re all now too used to the scrawny bits of lamb offered in supermarkets in their plastic coffins so the taste of a decent joint or rack from an R3L-graded or better lamb carcass that was sired by a downland breed tup like a Hampshire or Southdown has become a distant memory. A pure Southdown is a special treat.

  12. “: I didn’t like that first book of his at all. Like Ernest Hemingway – plain inauthentic.”

    Does that mean you have read #The Torrents of Spring”? Kudos

  13. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    New Zealand not long back scrapped all agricultural subsidies. Now, 100% of agricultural land in the country is owned by a single corporation whos shareholders include Donald Trump and the descendents of Adolf Hitler. Their supermarkets only sell radioactive turkey twizzlers and genetically modified beef. What’s more, I understand that the few remaining sheep in the fields refuse to address people by their preferred pronouns.

  14. If only I could buy horse steak in UK, even a gypsy cob steak – and then spend 10 Sundays trialling what kind of jelly it goes best with. One day, Sebastian

  15. In general I think British farmers are pretty competitive. Nz freed up farming back in the 80s and it worked out well enough.

    Bring it on.

  16. OK, here’s a synergistic suggestion, muntjack farming. They are there anyway, why not kill ’em and eat ’em?

    There’s a fair bit of deer farming in the Chilterns (and, no doubt, elsewhere), but mainly reds and fallows – muntjac find it easy to slip through any gap in the fence, and there’s not much meat on ’em. I know the guy who controls our local wild deer, with a shooting licence for roes and muntjacs. He takes them home to butcher and eat, but you won’t feed a family of six on a haunch of muntjac.

  17. You can raise chickens pretty easily. You can’t* raise muntjac. You can shoot wild ones, though.

    * At least, I’m not aware of anyone doing so successfully. Reds and fallows, yes, for sure.

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