Farmer Focus: Agriculture should be on a wartime policy

I love agriculture. I live and breathe it and wouldn’t want to do anything else…well, most days.

When fellow Farmers Weekly contributor Joe Stanley warned farmers protesting and raising their voice of being associated with or unconsciously supporting the “far right”,  I believe he was far from right.

I see no problem in standing up for our industry and pointing out that we seem to be in the process of being squeezed out by the net-zero mafia.

I’m not in denial that there is climate change; I just think agriculture is shouldering too much responsibility for addressing it.

See also: EU backtracks on pesticide reductions in wake of farmer protests

About the author

Doug Dear
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Doug Dear farms 566ha (1,400 acres) of arable land growing wheat, spring and winter barley, maize and oilseed rape and runs a custom feedyard, contract-finishing about 2,400 cattle a year near Selby, North Yorkshire. Most cattle are finished over 90-120 days for nine deadweight outlets, as well as Selby and Thirsk markets.
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The Sustainable Farming Scheme in Wales is hardly going to be sustainable if we can’t sustain the farmers.

The environmental, social and governance rules (guidelines to inform US investing) are causing major ructions – they are an existential threat to American agriculture.

JP Morgan and Blackrock have dumped their corporate sustainability agreements, pulling out of the United Nations climate alliance.

Those who own their farm at least have land, which governments and big corporates need to offset their carbon footprints. We must use our biggest asset as a bargaining chip.

Can’t our devolved partners and the EU see that the destruction of agriculture to meet net-zero targets is beyond ludicrous?

Asian gas demand will negate anything we achieve and we will just import food to meet demand.

We can’t think we are immune from the issues of continental Europe and its policy direction and farmer protests. The pendulum has already swung too far one way with the Sustainable Farming Incentive.  

Dartmoor’s farmers have been given a one-year payment rollover, but for a while there looked to be a risk of losing Higher Level Stewardship payments.

What would happen if we ran vast swathes of UK farmland as a tourist attraction and the state money runs out?

We are being so naïve about the capability of Russia and dreaming about butterflies instead. The government should put agriculture on a wartime policy.

Our industry does not have to tear up roads and burn tyres. But I do think we are too bothered about upsetting the consumer.

Most consumers only care whether food is cheap, and they can buy flights abroad and new phones.

Joe Public believes food is plentiful and comes at bargain basement prices. They may find they are sadly mistaken.