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Sorry Matey, sod off

“We’re fed up and exasperated,” says Bretagne, 38. “I love my job – I farm organically because it’s what I believe in and it’s the right thing ethically and in terms of health. In nine years of farming, I’ve never been on a protest; I’d rather be with my animals. But things are getting so difficult – we need decent prices that reflect not just the quality of our produce but the love we put into this job and into the countryside. This is a passion, a vocation, but we don’t get the recognition for it.”

If the consumers don’t give a shit then you get to fuck off.

24 thoughts on “Sorry Matey, sod off”

  1. Polls show massive public support for the farmers’ protest – up to 90% – but farmers say that French consumers, struggling to make ends meet and bamboozled by supermarkets, do not always choose French produce in shops.

    This is a result of those stupid steam engines. Cheaper stuff coming from elsewhere. When I was a kid we always ate NZ lamb, because my folks couldn’t afford British. Being retired, I look carefully at what will last me two or three meals when considering meat.

    Eventually though, just as in manufacturing, we are going to run out of ‘elsewheres’.

  2. The only time I’ve bought organic produce is if I needed a particular item and the organic option was all that was available.

  3. Campaigning against extra red tape seems fine. Claiming health benefits for organic seems like fraud. No on price support for a luxury good during an inflationary period. Maybe some support to change to cash positive produce and techniques and consolidate small holdings.

    I actually buy some organic because in some cases it tastes better but its clearly a luxury good.

  4. I support this woman. She manfully (!) chews willow tree bark and rightly shuns asprin when she has a headache. It’s natural, not like that disgusting stuff produced by Big Pharma in that horrible plastic packaging… She does struggle to pay £18,342 per tree (including chopping, hoisting and shipping) but she willingly pays it because it supports somebody’s passion for nature. And the shipping is by horse and cart. The horse is fed special non-fart feed in compliance with Greta’s specifications.
    I’d do the same but I can’t because I live in a flat and the horse can’t fit in the lift.

  5. Hardly unique among farmers demanding to be paid what they want rather than a market price. Those dastardly supermarkets!

  6. Chris,

    “I actually buy some organic because in some cases it tastes better but its clearly a luxury good.”

    Thing is, it’s not the “organic” aspect of it that makes it taste better. It’s that a lot of artisan producers who are making a luxury product opt to also go organic because the sort of rich people who buy luxury foods want them to be organic. Organic cheddar tastes so good because it’s really cheddar that’s matured for longer, and happens to be organic. Organic bacon tastes so good because it’s dry cured rather than wet cured, and happens to be organic. Organic veg boxes often taste better because they grow tastier types of carrots, and you get the veg within a day of picking.

  7. Do they have farmers’ markets in France – places where you pay £5 for an organic sour dough loaf, or a bit of locally cured salami the size of your thumb. Or £2 for an organic mooli.
    I wonder if Brittany’s problem is she’s looking for supermarket custom and isn’t targeting the right consumers.

  8. We raised our kids on organic food and we still buy a fair bit of organic stuff now, though I’m less bothered now the kids have grown up.

    There’s nothing weird about not wanting to eat pesticides and all the other shit they put in food (not least because I no longer trust any of the ‘peer-reviewed’ ‘science’ which says it’s safe).

    That said, it’s my choice, I can afford it, and I don’t have any sympathy for this doris.

  9. Farmers in Oz (non-organic, mostly) are demanding an enquiry into their low farm gate prices, they’re supposedly getting ripped off by the main supermarket chains. Which are getting profits of maybe 2.5% at best. The government is going to go ahead with the investigation though. Which will show as always that the supply chain and distribution costs money.
    So no, you don’t get recognition for your passion. You get what people are willing to pay.

  10. Bongo,

    The French have a much less romantic view of farming and the countryside than we do. Like you can go into a hypermarket and buy foie gras. No-one gets squeamish about force feeding geese. It tastes good, you eat it.

    And they have markets, which is generally where the best fruit and veg are sold, and the local goat farmer sells his cheese, but they aren’t some sort of attraction like the farmer’s markets here. It’s just where Claudine or Elodie regularly go to shop.

    (There’s also a whole lot of regulations around shops in France that means their supermarkets don’t dominate in the same way that UK ones do).

  11. “There’s nothing weird about not wanting to eat pesticides and all the other shit they put in food (not least because I no longer trust any of the ‘peer-reviewed’ ‘science’ which says it’s safe).”

    But you choose to believe the ‘peer-reviewed’ science which says food isn’t safe?

    Couple of years ago I looked into the claim that glyphosate causes cancer in humans. Summary was that the rumour originated with someone who was an expert witness for the claimant in a Californian claim that glyphosate had caused the claimant’s cancer. The ‘expert’ witness was in a position to influence the UN listing of potential carcinogens and got glyphosate included in the ‘may cause human cancer’ category. Alongside bacon and chips.

    The peer reviewed source for the allegation was a lab coat for hire who was one of the greenies’ go to sources for papers to back up their allegations.

    Given that glyphosate has been around a long time and had been in global use in agriculture, the question I asked myself was, “Where are the bodies? Because there ought to be lots of them.” The answer was that kind of actual evidence of harm was, and is, absent.

  12. Organic farmers sometimes claim it’s better for the land or for insect pollination, therefore they should be subsidised for the positive externality.

    I’m not in a position to evaluate the science, but if such an externality does exist, then perhaps it ought indeed to be compensated by the state.

  13. Buggered if I’m going to pay three times the price for a parsnip that looks like an STD ridden 70 year old’s cock and scrotum sac.

  14. Aren’t French food prices higher than those in the UK? Aren’t the producers therefore getting paid more, or is the extra government regulation causing higher prices?

  15. Buggered if I’m going to pay three times the price for a parsnip that looks like an STD ridden 70 year old’s cock and scrotum sac.

    In the old days, you coud have sent it to That’s Life.

  16. “looks like a STD ridden 70 year old’s cock”

    I have no idea what one of those looks like. What do you do in your spare time, BraveFart?

    (NB: it looks like an organic parsnip, apparently!)

  17. “But things are getting so difficult – we need decent prices that reflect not just the quality of our produce but the love we put into this job and into the countryside. This is a passion, a vocation, but we don’t get the recognition for it.” ” says old Farmer Giles, a non-organic farmer.

  18. “Given that glyphosate has been around a long time and had been in global use in agriculture, the question I asked myself was, “Where are the bodies? Because there ought to be lots of them.” The answer was that kind of actual evidence of harm was, and is, absent.”

    I’ve said for years there is a natural experiment been going on with pesticides (or more accurately herbicides, because there’s increasingly few actual pesticides used nowadays), namely that farmers and farm workers are exposed to massively more of these things than the consumer of the food is. If you’re pouring neat glyphosate into a crop sprayer you’re going to be ingesting a hell of a lot more of it via aerosols than the eater of a loaf of bread that was made from wheat sprayed with a very small amount of highly diluted glyphosate that then had to be mixed with large amounts of grain not sprayed with glyphosate, and mixed with other ingredients to make the bread. And if said glyphosate was all that toxic then farmers and farm workers would be dropping dead at young ages from cancers etc. And they just aren’t. I think if anything farmers live longer on average than the general population.

    So I conclude its all bollocks.

  19. @decnine

    But you choose to believe the ‘peer-reviewed’ science which says food isn’t safe?

    Eh? Which papers are those? Actually, ignore that, the answer is no – I haven’t read (and wouldn’t believe) any “‘peer-reviewed’ science which says food isn’t safe”.

    I eat whatever I fancy in the way of meat and vegetables and other associated products which as far as possible haven’t been sprayed with anything or injected with anything or mixed with anything too weird.

    I do that because I can, and to me it makes sense, but if you want to eat sprayed, injected and adulterated food etc that’s entirely your affair.

  20. If it’s a “vocation” and a “passion”, then it’s a hobby not a job, and you have no right to demand other people pay you to do your hobby. You are *REQUIRED* to pay for it out of your own pocket.

  21. Bloke in North Dorset

    For decades farmers in the EU and its predecessors got special treatment through subsidies, price maintenance and protection from imports. French farmers in particular only had to say boo and French politicians and the EU they largely controlled jumped. They were supported by German politicians whose own farmers also benefited.

    Now farmers are suddenly out of favour and they are out not happy and to a certain extent they have my sympathy. Not because I think they should be subsidised* but because of the reasons they are falling out of favour- the net zero bollocks.

    *we need to untangle direct subsidies/bribes from payments to maintain the countryside.

  22. @decnine..

    I’d turn it round; if glyphosate did X, then stopping using glyphosate should have a detectable effect.

    France partially banned glyphosate usage in 2020. Reduction in use is significant. So, what are the results?

    Nobody seems to have looked. Statistics sites like https://www.euractiv.com/section/diabetes-cancer-hepatitis/news/cancer-cases-doubled-in-france-since-1990/ say cancer rates have doubled since 1990, but they don’t present explanations for this, and certainly don’t mention glyphosate. Meanwhile, the EU just extended legal use of glyphosate by ten years : https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-03589-z

    So it’s not science involved, then.

  23. “I’d turn it round; if glyphosate did X, then stopping using glyphosate should have a detectable effect.”

    Neonicotinoids have been pretty much banned in the UK since 2018 because of purported toxicity to bees, with a special exemption only allowed for sugar beet crops, which is a pretty small crop in the UK, and concentrated into a relatively small geographical location. So the vast majority of the UK now has no neonicotinoid use at all. Have bee populations improved in those areas? Not to my knowledge. We still hear the same schtick about bee numbers under pressure etc etc, so banning neonics has obviously been completely pointless . But no-one even considers this fact to be even relevant. No evidence is required, they are ‘bad’ end of story.

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