Farmer Focus: Keep the CAP, says Will Howe

Has the world gone completely mad? There is a shortage of food and not only does the EU want to take away the mainstays of our fungicide programmes, but the Environment Agency wants to flood East Anglia. This makes sense to whom exactly?

Ah, chancellor/Captain Darling, of course. The arch adversary of George Osbourne and Edmund Blackadder. Reform the CAP again he cries, even before the most recent changes have had a chance to take effect, and the food price will drop and the hungry will be fed. As simple as Northern Rock.

What a wonderful fortnight we have had. The contrast between the dark green wheat and bright yellow osr makes for a captivating scene across the countryside, and shows just how much rape there is in this area. My neighbour’s spring beans look well (don’t tell him that, though) and have got me thinking that perhaps they may help in my quest to control my plethora of weeds as opposed to their winter compatriots.

The scorching weather has allowed the crops to catch up on their growth stages and recover from the pigeon damage, and me to lay all the drains for the new kitchen.

The good weather seems to inject energy into everyone until thoughts turn to next year’s budget. Doubling the cost of major inputs, increasing rents and a new machine bought, mean this year’s cost of production of £100/t is next year’s £130/t.

To end on a high, we received our 2007 SFP cheque last week. Please, Mr Chancellor, don’t scrap the CAP. Having bought a farm with no historic entitlements, I am only getting 30% and would like to know what it feels like to be a real farmer on 100%.

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