Fresh thinking on farm policy is ‘crucial’

The Dairy Site says that fresh thinking on farm policy is ‘crucial’ for Britain now that climate change is getting all too real.

Interviewing National Farmers Union (NFU) President Peter Kendall, the Dairy Site points out that ‘extreme weather events such as Superstorm Sandy and the midwestern drought in the US, or the persistent flooding across much of England and Wales,’ are what climate change means. It’s not a simple matter of slightly warmer weather. I’ve heard so many people (including journalists) joke ‘so much for global warming!’ when we have a cold or wet day. But come on people, get real!

Also in the Dairy Site article, I see that we’re to get a Grocery Supply Code of Practice Adjudicator this year. I’m watching. Just now, it’s indigestible politics. Didn’t we just go through that stage with the European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy? When I see anything about farm policy that normal people can understand, I’ll let you know. What we can see now is that last year’s strife over milk prices has got a few powerful people to sit up. And it’s not only milk, it’s groceries in general.

Another point that strikes me in the Dairy Site article is Mr Kendall’s opinion that English farmers are discriminated against in the EU’s system of support payments. Again, this is dry politics. But no doubt if you’re a farmer or grower it doesn’t seem so dry. Especially not when your land is flooded.

Mr Kendall doesn’t claim to be impartial. Of course he doesn’t: it’s his job to speak for British farmers. But the food on your plate got there because somebody grew it. I think farmers are well worth listening to.

Here are Mr Kendall’s closing remarks (punctuation unchanged.) ‘Our industry is well-placed to help deliver jobs and growth in 2013 but for the longer-term we need fresh thinking that builds confidence and resilience for meeting one of society’s greatest challenges; feeding a growing population in a smarter, more sustainable way.’

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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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2 Responses to Fresh thinking on farm policy is ‘crucial’

  1. EqFe says:

    In the US there is a battle cry to “eat locally” The idea being in part that the greenhouse gases used to transport our food from around the world in causing global climate change. The flip side is that global climate change is causing the increased turbulence in our weather that in tern has caused local crop failures in parts of the world. My own answer is that anyone who can, should at least grow some of their own food. The second thing is that depending on where one lives, they may not be able to afford to eat locally. Certainly in the more poplulated parts of the North East it’s prohibitedly expensive.

    • argylesock says:

      Yes. A third point is that trade can be hugely useful as a country develops. Today I’ve met greensky, an Indian blog, and I look forward to learning. In the world of parasitology science, I’ve often met people from poor countries who have a lot of knowledge. Their research facilities are often very underfunded, like their people. As an academic I’ve learned to avoid (or try to avoid) snobbery and racism. I’ve also learned that, for example, Indian students are often strong at maths.

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