Farmer Focus: EU pesticide proposals absurd, says Jim Alston

The past four weeks have produced absurdity, irony, numbers, noughts, and a rather unfortunate visit up north.

The absurdity – I wrote to my Green MEP to point out that the EU pesticide proposals will have a significant impact on what and how much food I produce.

In among her reply was the evidence that her stance is based on. Apparently, crop yields in 24 African countries have increased by 250% by adopting organic methods. Clearly hers is an evidence-based campaign

The irony – America has elected its first black president and his job is to clear up the mess left by the president before.

The numbers – if you have not yet drilled your late wheat you can book a November 2009 futures contract to buy wheat cheaper than you can grow it.

Then there are Gordon’s magic billions. But what are a few noughts when the money is not yours, but belongs to the next generation?

The rather unfortunate trip up north – we visited our son who works in Newcastle and my wife slipped on a restaurant floor fracturing her hip.

I then spent a week visiting Newcastle General every day, during which time it stayed dry while at home in Norfolk it was pouring nearly every day.

Amid this drizzly gloom it seems that Natural England constrained its approvals for capital works within CSS, ESA and similar agreements to such a degree they now have a surplus to get rid of. So all you have to do is come up with a conservation plan and apply before 15 November, then get it approved and complete the works this winter.

Clearly, its computer system is now working. So I am now off to cook the tea for my poor wife, which is a “new man” experience for me and amuses her.


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