BY JAMIE FOSTER In an excellent new article on Brexit Central Martin Howe QC explains how the UK leaving the EU on WTO terms would result in lower prices for UK consumers. The essential nature of the EU as a protectionist organisation is laid bare in the article. He explains that the stories in the press claiming food prices would rise if we left the … Continue reading Listen to Howe on WTO
BY DAVID EYLES In his book Feral , George Monbiot outlines his ideas for the environmental transformation of the British uplands – from open sheep grazed pastures to wooded hillsides. He argues that this will considerably enhance biodiversity. Furthermore, that the release of large predators such as Lynx, Wolves and Wild Boar, will amount to a restoration of keystone species that will bring about an enormous ecological improvement … Continue reading The Ecology of Our Uplands
BY DAVID EYLES Culture is usually defined in terms of a higher understanding of the arts and other intellectual achievements – anything from opera at Glyndebourne to Morris Dancing and the Helston Floral Dance. But in this post, I use the term as meaning the characteristics and social interactions of a particular community. In this case, the community which revolves around hill farmers. There are … Continue reading The Invisible Strands of Culture
BY BEN EAGLE It has been a funny old year. A few months ago the Beast from the East gripped the country with snow and icy weather unlike any I have seen in my lifetime, rivalling the winters of old described by older generations. Jumping ahead to today, in the current weather context we haven’t seen any rain here in Essex for 53 days. Further, … Continue reading Keep Calm and Carry On
BY JAMIE FOSTER The badger cull could be extended into low risk areas in England where badgers have been connected to outbreaks of TB by the autumn if licences are approved by Natural England. Despite opposition from the Badger Trust and other animal rights groups, Defra under Michael Gove has decided to carry on with the cull as part of the overall strategy to manage … Continue reading Gove Sticking to His Guns
BY BEN EAGLE There are many ways of getting into the farming sector today but if you want to farm in your own right on your own land, unless you are fortunate enough to inherit land, you have to be very wealthy indeed. In fact it will cost you far more than it ever has in the past to buy land, at least if you … Continue reading The Heady Heights of Land Prices
BY BEN EAGLE As a nation we pride ourselves in aspiring to produce food that is of high quality and we hold animal welfare standards in similarly high regard. Post Brexit all the rhetoric coming out of Defra at the moment suggests that Brand Britannia Farming will be focused as much as possible on producing high welfare, high quality food that has minimal impact on … Continue reading Do You Trust The Tractor?
BY BEN EAGLE How confident are you that British workers will embrace the fields and step into the shoes of the growing number of European migrant workers who are choosing to work in countries such as France or Germany instead of the UK? Personally, my confidence levels are low. The early indicators suggest that Britain is facing a labour crisis and there needs to be … Continue reading Emerging Farm Labour Crisis
BY BEN EAGLE Anybody involved in British agriculture should have accepted by now that the days for direct payments based on land area are limited in number. Instead we will be embracing a system of ‘public payments for public goods’, whatever that means. Although Michael Gove has in recent weeks offered a trickle of potential policy changes and words of general direction, there has been … Continue reading The End of Direct Payments?