Dairy farming isn’t easy

There’s an article in the Daily Mail about how dairy farmers in England are suffering under the price squeeze. I’m generally not a fan of this author, Liz Jones, who uses the Mail’s weekly women’s magazine to publish tales of her personal life. But I like what she says here about farmers.

Did you know that farming is one of the jobs in which people most often suffer clinical depression? I did know that, as it happens, and I knew that the suicide rate is high among farmers. But I don’t think those facts are very well known. Ms Jones writes of how it’s not unusual for farmers to seek support from the Rural Stress Helpline.

To me the most intriguing part of this article is its closing paragraphs. The farmers interviewed said that they wanted the European Union’s dairy subsidy to be scrapped. Instead, says Ms Jones, these farmers want ‘the Government to take a more active role.’ I assume that means action by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) but no specific policies are recommended in this article. The article also doesn’t mention the cuts at DEFRA which, if I remember correctly, have so far trimmed away about 1/3 of its budget.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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12 Responses to Dairy farming isn’t easy

  1. I remember that article, usually Liz Jones drives me crazy, but she made some valid points for once in this article.

  2. Eqfe says:

    If they want the European Unions subsidity scrapted it’s only because they want a higher payday, which probably means they want import restrictions. In the US, milk can not be produced in the State of New York at a competetive price, so instead of letting milk be imported, the State forbids imports and keeps the price of Milk the highest in the US 50 states.

    • argylesock says:

      Do you think there might be other factors?

      Here in Britain, we have higher animal welfare standards in some agricultural sectors than are imposed on the Continent. Hence Danish bacon undercuts British bacon on price. I’m not sure whether battery cages for hens are outlawed here yet, but they’re certainly in decline whereas iirc Continental eggs are often laid under battery conditions. Then there’s the question of appropriate land-use. And the question of transport costs: financial, environmental and social

      I feel another blog post coming on! There’s a lot here that I don’t yet know.

      Anything you’d like to write about American dairy farming, please feel free! I’ll publish it on this blog with your name attached, if you wish.

  3. hilal achmar says:

    I apologize for my bad language of the United Kingdom. I know that dairy farming is not easy. You are right. There is a cow care, food science, genetics, breeding, economics, etc.. Often, traditional farmers in Indonesia, serves as a director, accounting manager, marketing, transportation, personnel managers and other jobs. Because imbreeding are not monitored, cows may be hampered its development.

  4. lowerarchy says:

    I’ve read the organo-phosphates in sheepdip can cause depression amongst other negative effects.

  5. Daniel Digby says:

    How can working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year for a lifetime without a break lead to stress or depression?

  6. Pingback: Harvest of the month: Potato | Science on the Land

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