In the first article looking back on some of the best quotes from our arable Farmer Focus writers over the past year, we hear what they had to say about the Rural Payments Agency and politicians.

“I think some of our politicians are missing the big picture when it comes to energy policy.” Peter Hogg (6 January)

“Fruit, vegetable and potato authorisations are causing our vining pea co-op, Aylsham Growers, huge difficulties.” Chris Harrold (13 January)

“We are still completely in the dark about our eligibility to entitlements for land in the old Nitrate Sensitive Area, and it now seems telephone support has been ditched.”  Mark Ireland (24 February)

“Appointing DEFRA ministers and secretaries of state who know nothing about how the countryside works is either sheer madness or bloody mindedness.” Richard Ward (3 March)

“Every time the maps are returned to me after my corrections they have new anomalies.” Matthew Dale (24 March)

“Who was it that placed impossible burdens on former RPA chief executive, Johnston McNeil?” Richard Ward (31 March)

“Suddenly I awoke to realise I had dozed off in front of the TV and it was all a dream, especially the bit about receiving the SFP.” Peter Hogg (31 March)

defra cartoon“I can honestly say that if I did not laugh I would cry at New Labour’s incompetence.” Steve Bumstead (5 May)

“Having the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in charge of a once respected country is pure mockery and an insult.” Kevin Littleboy (2 June)

“No sooner have we been reformed than he [Gordon Brown] is calling for more radical reform and the ending of support.” Mark Ireland (16 June)

“Whenever the CLA gets involved in lobbying the government a cold shiver rushes down my spine.” Steve Bumstead (27 October)

“If any other business performed as DEFRA/RPA/Natural England has they would be bust!” Mark Ireland (1 December)

“I’ve counted every tree in every hedge.” Matthew Dale (1 December)

“If I’m being paid to grow a wildflower area and I miss bits off, then I should expect a comeback.” Peter Hogg (8 December)

Stay tuned to FWi over the festive period for more quotes on the weather, prices, agronomy and some of the more off-the-wall comments! Also see Farmers Weekly magazine (22 Dec) for a selection of other quotes.