Simon Beddows finds himself debating against GMs

Does the CAP fit? I don’t think so. The devil, as always, will be in the detail which will take sometime to emerge.

Long term, subsidies will have to go and this was the perfect opportunity to move in that direction. It seems the level playing field that we were all hoping for has just been tilted even further. No doubt we will still be debating all of this well into 2014.

As I write, I am gliding along a canal with the family on a narrowboat in deepest Wiltshire. It’s a great way to relax as the pace of life is governed by the speed of the boat, which is slow. We found an amazing pub with its own brewery a mile or so from Bradford-on-Avon. I would have been quite happy to have spent the entire weekend there. Anyway, we continued on to Bath through the locks and on to the River Avon. It was a great weekend as it’s not often we get all the family and their respective partners together.

In stark contrast to this, I spent two days in London attending a Future Farm Conference. After my thoughts on GM crops, somebody decided I would make the perfect candidate to discuss the evils of GM in their debate slot. Andrew Ward from Lincolnshire did a great job for the pro side and Harper Adams University’s Dick Godwin guided us along with some probing questions. To use Professor Godwin’s words, I am agnostic when it comes to GM, so having to take the anti stance did not come easy.

It is, however, a debate that will continue to rumble on. As farmers it matters little what we think; it is up to our consumers in the end. As an industry, we need to have more of these debates, not with each other but with our customers. Andrew and I were just a small part of what was an excellent conference covering a range of subjects from trickle irrigation to political speeches from DEFRA minister David Heath and Sir James Paice.

Simon Beddows manages 1,000ha of arable land at Dunsden Green, south Oxfordshire. Cropping is cereals, oilseed rape, beans and forage maize

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