Farmer Focus: Most farming businesses cannot survive without the SFP

At a recent meeting it was alleged that some arable farmers said they can farm profitably post-CAP reform without any single farm payment.

This kind of rhetoric from these people is not at all helpful when it comes to the current discussions about how to distribute future support. Please, if you are one of these people, shut up; the vast majority of farming businesses can’t.

Having a few acres of land that flood, I know a little bit of what it is like to experience such events. But I simply can’t imagine what it must be like to have the whole of your farm under water, not just for a few days but for weeks, so I send my sympathies to all farmers who have been suffering from flooding. Is it not ironic that the Environment Agency’s wish to encourage all the habitats by leaving rivers to silt up has in fact completely backfired because the same habitats are probably now all destroyed by the water?

We are fortunate not to be experiencing any extreme weather and I hope that will remain the case for the rest of winter. I have always favoured winter sports so it is fantastic to be able to watch all the events unfolding in Sochi. Let’s hope the Scots representing Team GB in curling will gather some gold. Curling is a great game of intricate finesse and skill that is widely played by many Scottish farmers, including myself.

One of the most popular tournaments took place again in January in Perth, sponsored by Yara, and the winner for the third time in a row was from my local ice rink in Kelso. That is a tremendous achievement, but the event is a wonderful occasion for farmers from all over Scotland to enjoy and meet each other, although the days have gone where half way through a game the players would retire to the bar for a dram before finishing the game and then would not leave after until each of the eight players had bought a round of drinks. Pity really!

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