Farmer Focus: My tech boneyard shows folly of support

Is it just me, or are we going round the houses with the myriad farming organisations that represent us trying to report to a government that knows nothing and cares not about the industry?

We just need to be left to farm and be supported by a competition ombudsman with some teeth to balance the power of enormous supermarkets and cartels. 

Isn’t it time we grasped the nettle and carried on with our transition away from subsidies and government handouts and just got on with farming?

See also: UK food self sufficiency and sustainability possible

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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Are we interested in the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI)? Are we interested in carrying on with the status quo? Doesn’t all this support add to the cost of production?

I believe land rent values are relative to subsidies. Is this not a chance for those wishing to expand to get some dead wood out of the industry? It may even give the next generation a chance to get on the farming ladder.

I don’t think we need grants for us to buy shiny technology devised on a whim by people who don’t farm. Grants are fine, but only if it’s right for the business, not just because it’s got a 40% allowance on it.

I have a technological boneyard of stuff that either made a simple task complicated or flat out didn’t work. 

How many people went out and bought a fancy drill and then went back to a basic one? There are many examples of government schemes distorting good business practice. 

Here’s a radical idea: if we must have government handouts – for which there will be strings attached – what about land drainage, concrete, buildings or lime?

Or is that a bit too “1970s” in that it will benefit food production?

Call me a luddite (I don’t care). I believe I farm in a sustainable, safe and profitable manner.

Co-operating with our peers is probably the way forward. 

On the home front, I was allocated funds on the proviso that it was to be used on the construction of a tennis court as, apparently, we have two potential Wimbledon winners in the family.

There has been a slight deviation from the original plan, and this has now turned into what I call a clampenstore (clamp-pen-store). As yet, nobody has noticed.