Farmers should not get subsidies

(52 Posts)
Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 15:40:12

I live in the country and know lots of farmers, they are all rich, yet they get thousands of pounds of public money every year, it seems like the richer they are the more they get as well. Fine that they are doing well, good luck to them they work very hard but somebody come on and explain to me why they need a hand out when they live in the sort of houses most of us can only dream of.

Most of them are full time farmers but I do know a couple who are 'hobby' farmers. One DH is a barrister and her 'job' is to fill in the subsidy form, that's why they bought the farm, the other DH works (earn loads, that's how they could afford the house) they have 22 acres and their subsidy pays for their holiday in France every year. Both these families admit it's madness but are not going to turn down free money.

Yes I am jealous before you tell me but I'm also fed up of seeing people in brand new Range Rovers. Rant, rant, rant, sorry.

Thingumy Mon 23-May-11 15:42:53

I see people in Brand new range rovers all the time-are they all rich farmers then>?

Lots of council farms are being sold down here so there are families left without a job or a home.

You are being a little judgemental eh?

Nixea Mon 23-May-11 15:42:54

Please don't tar all farmers with the same brush. I'm totally willing to believe that some are indeed exactly as you say but then you get that in all walks of life surely?

nijinsky Mon 23-May-11 15:47:46

The subsidies are for the land to be managed in a certain way, basically. At least farmers produce stuff, or manage land, and do more than most people in this country who get subsidies. From your post, it sounds more as if you hate a certain make of car, or a certain lifestyle!

I have no problem with people who work hard and are successful at what they do and spend their money on buying their own property.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 15:48:37

"I see people in Brand new range rovers all the time-are they all rich farmers then"

They are round here, I really don't know anyone else who can afford one.

MrSpoc Mon 23-May-11 15:49:53

One subsidie i know and agree with them getting is keeping a hudge bordering thier land. For every meter of hedge they have they got X amount for.
The reason is that the hedges hold and support an aboundance of wild life as well as keeping the countryside picture. Alot of farmers would love to get rid as it would create more space and less hass in trimming the hedges every year.

MrSpoc Mon 23-May-11 15:51:01

Sorry hedge. Not sure what a hudge is but i bet they get money for them too grin

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 15:51:20

I an definitely having a bad day, I admit it, and should get over myself, but even when I am not having a bad day I still don't think farmers should get subsidies.

BranchingOut Mon 23-May-11 15:52:26

I don't know much about farming, as a city dweller. But I do know that it is a heck of a lot more complicated than 'filling in the form = subsidies = rich farmer'.

I watched a 'Wife Swap' once where one couple were farmers and the hard, backbreaking labour the husband was doing was incredible. Long, long hours and it never seemed to end. No weekends, no holidays.

I have read articles about farmers living on low incomes and therefore needing to claim benefits etc.

Farmhouses are often big roomy houses, yet they fall under different planning laws. I think that you can't buy and sell as easily, as they have to be taken on by someone willing to keep on farming, as the purpose of the land is designated as agricultural.

These are not perhaps typical farmers then.
Farming is fucking hard work actually as it happens.

Vallhala Mon 23-May-11 15:53:53

Too many generalisations for my liking here.

I do have major, major issues with Welsh farmers who, having been encouraged with grants from the Welsh Assembley to diversify, went on to breed yet more dogs which the country cannot accommodate, many in conditions which are, or are little better than, puppy farms.

Those particular farmers are people I would have no hesitation in shooting with their own guns, given a chance and an amnesty.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 15:54:00

I have a tree in my garden with a TPO on it, it sheds all over my roof and blocks my drains I'd love to get rid of it but I don't get a subsidy for it. Just put protection orders on hedges.

I know feck all about farming but I remember a thread a few months ago where the partners of dairy farmers were posting and they were closing down. Doesn't seem like they are all rich to me.

Apronlady Mon 23-May-11 15:54:48

If you think that fine, but you should also expect your food to get a lot more expensive in your ideal no subsidy no Landrover no farmer world.

nijinsky Mon 23-May-11 15:57:20

Imagine though if you got rid of farmers via removing subsidies, and most farms were run by Tesco etc instead...

Thingumy Mon 23-May-11 15:58:32

hobby farmers are completely different to those that rear livestock or arable farmers.

It's a 24/7 job and a hard and arduous one at that.

I know someone who farms over 1,000 acres and he doesn't drive the latest 4 x4.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 15:58:53

"Farmhouses are often big roomy houses, yet they fall under different planning laws. I think that you can't buy and sell as easily, as they have to be taken on by someone willing to keep on farming, as the purpose of the land is designated as agricultural."

These farmhouses with a AO are also about 35% less than they would be, oh but I couldn't just buy one, no you have to be a farmer already for at least, I don't know how many years. Very often these houses are lovely big five bed detached places, with no land other than a garden! Have a look for yourself.

Nixea Mon 23-May-11 15:59:20

"Imagine though if you got rid of farmers via removing subsidies, and most farms were run by Tesco etc instead..."

It's actually quite scary how often that actually ends up being pretty close to the truth. Although they might not own the farm as such, they can certainly end up owning the farmer.

Thingumy Mon 23-May-11 16:00:16

Maybe you should become a farmer then OP.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 16:01:33

They should get rid of subsidies and pay farmers a good price for what they produce, this price could be maintained by introducing trade barriers to stop us importing things like lamb.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 16:02:14

"Maybe you should become a farmer then OP."

Please see above post about AO.

Thingumy Mon 23-May-11 16:02:56

You weren't talking about that in your OP.

You were banging on about big houses and a 4x4's.

Yes because we have the climate to produce such a great variety of produce in Britain. We never have huge holes in UK production due to the weather do we?
Imports aren't evil and farming is shit.

GentleOtter Mon 23-May-11 16:09:19

Some farming is not all glamour, big houses, 4x4s and subsidies, OP. Sometimes it is a bit bloody awful, to be honest.

The subsidy has to cover everything - our food, house repairs, feed for cattle, diesel, land management, crops, fencing, ditches, vet bills, farm bills, fuel for the house etc.
On the smaller farm, it does not go far.

Ariesgirl Mon 23-May-11 16:12:12

Oh honestly <rolls eyes>

I think you are displaying some rather unattractive envy here OP. Many farmers have had their large houses in their families for generations, which is the only reason they can afford them. I live near many farms and at this time of year they are working all the hours God sends, just to try and make a living. Because people and therefore supermarkets insist on cheap prices they have to work even harder, and if they don't receive subsidies then they could go under. It is a way of ensuring that British farms survive, and sooner or later this will become immensely important as peak oil will mean that we cannot import anything like the amount of food we do at the moment. What would you rather was on the food-producing land instead?

In certain parts of the country, yes there are "gentleman farmers" with their posh 4by4s and large houses. But here in west Cornwall they usually drive clapped out old land rovers which they need to haul trailers and negotiate muddy fields, and this is the same in most farming areas of the country. I think it's about time people like you started respecting those who do a very hard job.

MoreBeta Mon 23-May-11 16:21:45

As an ex farmer you may be surprised to hear that I AGREE with you that farms should not get subsidies. It actualy does little to help small/medium sized family farms and it is the agri business firms and 'hobby' farms that hoover up the majority of the subsidies. The large farms are now often owned by City people or other wealthy people who buy them only for tax reasons. These people are not your traditional family farmers who still are mostly struggling to make enough money to support 2/3 generations of a family on a single unit. I dont know any wealthy family farmers but plenty of wealthy people who own farms and plenty of 'hobby' farmers.

I left farming at age 22 because I knew that the family farm I grew up on could never support me and my intended wife as well as my father and mother. The last ever proper job I ever did on a farm was sititng on a tractor seat for 8 hours planting 40 acres of winter wheat. Just to weeks later I was sat on a City trading desk sitting alongside people who were trading the very commodities I had spent the better part of my life growing. Those traders were often making money by exploiting the market distortions caused by the subsidy regime meant to help small/medium sized farms. Big agri business interest, commodity traders and people looking to avoid tax are the main beneficiaries of agricultural subsidies.

Unfortunately though, UK farmers only need subsidies because European farmers and US farmers get subsidies. If the World trade Organisation could somehow organise an international agreement to stop all farm subsidies the whole world would be far better off.

It will never happen.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 16:39:08

I know that farmers work very hard and if they do make a lot of money out of farming then great, good for them, I might be envious but that's my problem.

I still don't see why they should get subsidies, I see that if they were withdrawn some farmers would go under and that's very sad especially if the farm had been in the family for generations but plenty of businesses go under. And at the end of the day if the couldn't make a living they could always sell the farm and probably have more money than I could ever dream of having.

We should stop subsidising millionaires and stop importing apples from South Africa and lamb from New Zealand.

GentleOtter Mon 23-May-11 16:50:54

I don't think 'slipper farmers' should receive subsidies - those described by MoreBeta. Sometimes their 'land' is not worked or managed well, if at all and it would be fairer to give it to people who wish to make the land productive or make a living from it.

We, in Britain, are at the bottom end of the EU subsidy list - other countries receive far greater subsidy but I do agree that the wealthier and larger the farm, the bigger the subsidy. This includes the Queen.

But ... a farmer with a Range Rover is using it for what it was intended for. Why be jealous? It's not as if they're the twats who use them to take their kids to school and pick up the Waitrose shop.

I have never met a rich farmer, though I believe you they exist - I grew up in a farming village and farming is what most people my age try desperately to get out of because their parents are working themselves to death, diversifying into B&Bs and crap, and still not able to retire. So I may be biased.

But, you know, I really appreciate how beautiful the countryside is and a huge amount of that is down to farmers - I think we'd all feel very differently if all these farmers went bust.

GentleOtter Mon 23-May-11 17:16:50

My dh does not like having to abide by the subsidies as they are very restrictive plus if you get things wrong then the payment is pulled leaving the farmer with nothing.

OP - come and spend a few days on our farm, say, in December or January. You would be more than welcome and you could see where your money is being spent. smile

gallicgirl Mon 23-May-11 17:21:22


EU subsidies don't benefit the consumer either and have detrimental effects on third world countries. The CAP desperately needs reforming.

niceguy2 Mon 23-May-11 17:34:19

Yep, i agree. The CAP is a complete farce which is crying out for reform.

Unfortunately France will never allow it as their farmers will be blockading ports with their tractors quicker than you can say "merde!"

40% of the EU budget gets wasted on the CAP. We had a real chance to make a dent in this except stupid Labour gave up our trump card (our veto) in exchange for a French promise for "talks on reforming the CAP.

Unsurprisingly the talks have come to nothing!

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 17:34:40

Seems like IANBU and am right smile

gallicgirl I would love to come and stay with you on your farm and don't dispute how hard you work.

farming4 Mon 23-May-11 17:35:32

If we didn't get the subsidies (for which we have a heck of a lot of rules and cross-compliences to abide by - not just a case of filling in a form and sitting back and watch the money roll in) we would not be able to survive as a business. We are dairy farmers and are told what price we will be paid for our milk - how many other businesses are dictated to as to what they can charge - for what its worth it currently costs us 29 pence for every litre of milk we produce for which we get paid 26 pence - we use our subsidy to make up the shortfall. Added to which the fact that we are considered to be a family living below the poverty line.

I do agree that the whole system needs an overhaul to direct the money to where it is actually needed and to stop people who are not directly farming claiming.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 17:36:36

Wasn't the EU set up in the first place to subsidies French farmers? Seems like it is doing a fantastic job.

Ariesgirl Mon 23-May-11 17:37:50

So does the CFP, come to that.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 17:39:47

"or what its worth it currently costs us 29 pence for every litre of milk we produce for which we get paid 26 pence"

So, would I be right in thinking the only reason you continue farming is because you receive a subsidy to do so?

Surely that does not seem right to you?

hairylights Mon 23-May-11 17:49:23

I don't know any poor farmers either. Lots of very well off ones, but no poor ones. All the ones I know own their houses outright, drive one or more big, new vehicles, and have over three children who they support ably.

I think that some of the subsidies are good and have stopped farmers from wrecking parts of the countryside.

But it does grind my gears when they plead poverty.

farming4 Mon 23-May-11 17:50:01

No the reason we continue farming is because it is in our blood - we are trying to increase the size of the herd which will bring our production costs down and are tied up in planning policy etc. We will get there but the subsidies are what is keeping us afloat until that point. The alternative is that we pack up, sell the land to someone who wants to invest his money and then watch as it is added to some great estate. Or worse we end up with no family run dairy farms, instead having all our "British" milk being produced on huge farms run by the supermarkets. Or with the majority of milk being imported from Europe because it is cheaper.

farming4 Mon 23-May-11 17:55:24

For what its worth I would love to be able to compete on a level playing field without having to rely on subsidies.

jade80 Mon 23-May-11 17:58:04

Ha ha I opened the thread thinking it might be interesting and you might have some well considered views. How wrong was I! What a load of rubbish you are spouting.

Kendodd Mon 23-May-11 18:13:28

I have yet to hear a good defence of subsidies though, have you got one jade or are you just going to throw insults?

MoreBeta Mon 23-May-11 18:21:28

The only defence of subsidies is every other country gives them to their farmers so we have to have them too.

Not much of a defence but a sound economic reason.

If subsidies were taken away the income of farmers would fall, some would go out of business, land prices would fall as a result as farms were auctioned off. In the long run, the price of food would not go up if subsidies were eliminated - land prices would though fall to reflect the lower subsidy income so the big losers would be City investors and banks with mortgages on famland.

niceguy2 Mon 23-May-11 18:44:15

We have to either take it away for all EU countries or not at all. This isn't something we can do unilaterally.

Then the farmers can compete in the same basis as most other companies. The fit survive, the unfit ones do not. That's the basis of the free market economies we have as part of the EU.

jade80 Mon 23-May-11 18:54:21

Yes, kendodd. My solution (obviously not an instant one) would be ensuring farmers receive a market price for their milk that is fair and viable. If it costs more to produce than they are paid, clearly either subsidies are required, or moving away from small family run farms to vast superfarms like Nocton. Personally, places like Nocton don't sit well with me.

jade80 Mon 23-May-11 18:56:59

Oh, the root of the problem, IMO, being supermarkets. Who pay below the cost of production, yet sell on at a much higher price.

wikolite Tue 24-May-11 10:39:18

The problem is the CAP which is a protectionist racket and is in urgent need of reform but the French block any attempt to do so.

knittedbreast Tue 24-May-11 10:49:26

maybe they might seem richer than they are. at first glance someone sitting on 20+ actres with a massive 6 bed house with beautiful views might seem well off but it might be inherited and they might actually be very poor, not have nay money etc

of course some are loaded but we need to keep offering farmers subsidies to keep food and meat comeing fro mthe uk rather than abroad. we need to produce our own food and usper markets kill farmers, they pay them hardly anything and farmers cant do mcu habout it

wow my typing is bad

Bramshott Tue 24-May-11 11:10:02

Farmers are paid subsidies because food production and countryside management are both far too important to be left solely to the mercy of market forces.


Saggyoldclothcatpuss Tue 24-May-11 11:15:58

Know several farmers round here. Most are NOT remotely well off! Yes, one or two do have Landies, or L200s but they are not new, are are put to hard work. They are business vehicles, like white vans. FWIW you can't tow a trailer full of livestock with a clapped out Ford Escort! The only ones which make any money at all are the ones who have giant fields and grow for supermarkets. They have big houses, because they have been in the family for years, or come with the land tenancy. Most of the farmers I know employ minimal staff, mainly family, and don't draw a wage. They survive.
Subsidies are not ideal, but they keep people's heads above water. They are also responsible for the reinstating of miles of hedgerows in my area.

Saggyoldclothcatpuss Tue 24-May-11 11:19:34

Maybe you would prefer that all of your food came from abroad?

ikoto Tue 24-May-11 11:25:05

The CAP is probably the stupidiest policy ever. It encourages oversupply, restricts competition, hurts the developing world and costs an absolute fortune whilst benefitting very few people. It is in dire need of reform yet it will never happen

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