Call to assist those who want to quit industry
GOVERNMENT officials should make it easier for farmers who wish to leave the business.
That was the message David Harvey of the University of Newcastle gave to delegates at the Sentry Farming 99 Conference at Linton, Cambs, last week. "Too many people are trying to earn a full-time living from agriculture."
The government should offer the option of swapping annual subsidy payments for a one-off lump sum, said prof Harvey. "Clinging to the supposed life-raft of annual compensation payments condemns present businesses to continue as in the past, which means compromising the future."
A one-off sum would provide a "pension fund" for those looking to leave the industry. And land prices would fall once the link between payments and livestock and land had been severed.
"The value of land is trying to fall, but crop payments are holding it up."
Quota could also be bought by government, he suggested. "Let the Intervention Board buy quota instead of surplus milk powder and butter." *