Robert Law counts cost as EU fuels dissent

I am known among friends and farming colleagues for being a bit of a Eurosceptic, but the latest proposals from Brussels regarding red diesel have left even its most ardent supporters exasperated.

The proposals under the EU’s over-the-top green agenda are to encourage farming to become “more fuel efficient”. I think that where fuel prices are at the moment, nobody is going to use a drop more than necessary. If, as suggested, red diesel prices moved up to the level of derv, we could see our red diesel costs increase by £110,000 per annum from present levels, which are already £40,000 up on last year.

The NFU and all of us need to get on the front foot with this, as this sort of cost increase will make us less com-petitive and end up exporting more of our food production out of the EU.

On a day when wheat traded at record levels, the saying I kept hearing was that “the fundamentals of the market have not changed”. This saying seems to be holding true for this season. I, probably like many others, get numerous text messages regarding the grain market. One message alerted me to the activities of the fund mangers in London, warning me that they were withdrawing from agricultural commodities which could cause a sharp check in the markets and I should sell forward now. But after a small blip in the market prices, they started to move up again to reach new contract highs.

Congratulations to Mark Grimshaw on his move to the Rural Payments Agency in what we call on the rugby field a “hospital pass”. I will ship my girls off to Badminton this weekend so that I can start my 2011 application in relative peace.


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