Farmers debate subsidies, the press and the rising costs of production

The CAP health check has sparked debate among farmers about the future of subsidies, how the press portray farmers and the rising costs of production.

Here is a selection of comments submitted through the FWiSpace discussion forums. Why not join the conversation?

“Whenever the question of subsidies to farmers comes up however, my mind also goes to the billions of pounds the taxpayer gives to other industries and to other sectors each year. The question of subsidies however, does not begin and end with farming.
“Take for example the Olympics due in London in 2012. £900 million is already trickling out of our pockets into the black hole of the East End of London because this government decided that the Olympics would be a good thing for somebody somewhere.” Peter Wells

“I have noticed several ‘stories’ recently which seem to rely on some weird form of alternative economic theory. The public is being told that farm subsidies are one of the causes of high food prices, and not only is the public paying a higher price for food in the shops, but also paying for it again through taxation.” Jacobus

“I expect most of us could farm without subsidies, but we need to be weaned off over a period of 5-10 years, and the transition would not be pretty, especially in Europe.
“If we really went without, I am pretty sure food prices would end up being higher at the end of it all.” Kansasfarmer

“I’ve never really bought the argument that farmers don’t know how to do anything else other than farming. It always seems to be an excuse for maintaining the status quo – not earning much and complaining about it.
“Most farmers have a good grasp of mechanics (keeping knackered tractors and kit going), practical skills (welding up aforementioned kit, fencing, building, concreting etc) and bookmaking, people and economics (all that form filling) and staff management, not to mention working incredibly hard in tough conditions under their own steam (lambing in winter, milking at the crack of dawn every day). It sounds like a list of skills lots of employers are crying out for.
“What farmers really mean when they say they can’t do anything else is that they enjoy being their own bosses and are too stubborn to work for anybody else!!” Fifth columnist

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