What should the government change in 2006?

FIND OUT what the Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus writers think the government should implement or abandon in 2006.

• Steve Bumstead: Set up regional focus groups of grassroots farmers, relevant NGO’s attended by a senior minister (I’ll book my seat now)!

• Chris Harrold: The government must improve food labelling and ensuring the country of origin is obvious on all food products including processed and the rapidly growing ready meals market. Oh and if there is one thing they should do it’s “Ban The Ban”.

• James Stafford: Finally the government should implement an official governing body with more power to control supermarket supply chains so farmers are paid fairer prices for their quality produce.

• Richard Ward: (a) Implement more encouragement for biofuel usage. (b) Abandon DEFRA’s Computer systems – they don’t work and cause us far too much extra hassle. Also, the Environment Agency.

• Peter Hogg: Farmers and workers live next to their work. Instead of huge soulless housing estates and massive business parks, we need a planning system that could integrate the two, so reducing the need to travel. This would produce genuine fuel savings, unlike what we will get from useless windmills and biofuels.

• Mark Ireland: A year long bureaucracy holiday to cover inspections/paperwork for cross compliance, single payment scheme, nitrate vulnerable zone, farm saved seed, health and safety, crop assurance, countryside stewardship scheme, entry level scheme, insurance and LERAPs. I’m sure others have more.

• Hendrik Visser: Implement: A law which says that everybody under 23 who is healthy has to work or be doing some sort of education. If he doesn’t want to work or be in education, stop his or her social payments and see how fast they find a job.
Abandon – Most of the laws and tax payments you have to do to take over the farm from your parents. With the laws and tax system we got it’s very difficult to take over a farm in Holland.

• Richard Crewe: When we get a Government? (Canada is currently in the middle of a General Election – Christmas and an election at the same time – Can you think of a bigger turn off!)
Which ever party wins will they remove the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly single desk trading. Farmers never voted for it, yet we are required to live and suffer under it.

• Matthew Dale: They could implement farmer study tours to the Maldives or Pacific Islands.  They could abandon me there quite happily.

• David Greasby: For Government to harness the elusive FART – no for goodness sake, I mean ‘farming and red tape’ of course! On second thoughts the environmental issue is not such a bad idea!

• Bill Davey: Government will have to intervene and assist with a water harvesting scheme to take and store water, during peak flows, to reduce the increasing pressure on deep ground water reserves. The Canterbury Plains are the bread basket of New Zealand but farmers themselves can not afford to do this alone.

• John Jeffrey: Devolve all agriculturally-related issues. Holyrood comes in for a lot of stick (and a lot of it deserved) but at least in most cases they stick up for the farming industry.

• Mark McFerran: A package deal offering retirement from farming coupled with a substantial pension to all farmers reaching the age of 40 next year!

• Simon Redfearn: UK and all other EU governments should recognize that farmers are the guardians of countryside and to this end, Mr Blair should abandon his reforms. If we don’t manage the environment, the bill will be far higher than it is now!

• Kevin Littleboy: The Government to learn common sense and realise it still exists in normal people. Also realise political correctness has gone too far making this country a laughing stock.

• Andrew Peddie: Using duff science in implementing NVZ rules which is curtailing cereal growers output.

Do you agree or disagree with these views? Let us know on the FWi Forum.