A STRAW POLL of farmers and delegates at the last day (Jan 6) of the Oxford Farm Conference revealed that only a quarter of those present understood the single farm payment.

Chairman Max Hastings, president of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, said he was relieved to be in good company.

But the result must be worrying as British farming tries to square up to the challenge of CAP reform and the severance of production-based subsidies.

And in the best tradition of blissful ignorance, about 90% of the delegates said they were also optimistic about the future of farming.

“Perhaps it‘s because you‘re all consultants,” joked Mr Hastings.