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so who will grow food when farmers have gone out of business?

(145 Posts)
sarah293 Sat 20-Jun-09 08:48:54

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liath Sat 20-Jun-09 08:52:49

Becuase imported milk is cheaper and all the government ever thinks about is short term cost saving. Who cares about the long-term implications, someone else can sort them out.....angry.

sarah293 Sat 20-Jun-09 09:03:52

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GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 09:13:55

Last year, almost all of the barley harvest was refused by grain buyers as there was a bumper harvest in China and America. It was cheaper to import than to buy from British farmers.
We support our farm, livestock and selves on the money we get from the grain harvest so this year is a very tight one indeed yet the landowners are demanding an increase in rent from many tenant farmers on the back of a good harvest two years ago.

We have poor support from the Government ministers in charge, namely Hillary Benn and although British farmers are quietly getting the country through this recession, we are penalised constantly.

I feel terribly sad for the dairy farmers and seethe at the greed of the Big Four supermarkets for holding the farmers over a barrel.

If Tesco would stop importing the inferior quality meat from abroad and buy only British then this would help enormously.
Give the dairy farmers a decent price too for the milk they produce and we may get somewhere.

The government managed to 'find' enough money for their £10,000 wage increase yet so many of us are living well below the bread line even when we are the ones that grow the grain to make the bread!

France, Denmark and Canada manage a good system for their farmers and there is no reason why this country ought not follow their schemes.

Many farms are folding so please support the British farmers wherever you can.

sarah293 Sat 20-Jun-09 09:18:40

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sarah293 Sat 20-Jun-09 09:19:26

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GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 09:23:30

I wish there were more like you, Riven as that is the sort of support we need.
It is true about the fickleness of supermarkets , Marks and Spencer being one of the worst for this and putting many small businesses under.

We are more than capable of supplying enough to feed this country yet how can we compete with the wealth, cunning and political sway that Tesco have?

If the whole country boycotted the big 4 for even a week...........

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 09:30:02

The barley was fed to the cows and chickens. sad. We still have about 30 tons of it in the shed.
It sold for up to £180 per ton two years ago and we had about 60 tons. Last year the price dropped to around £60-90 per ton for those lucky enough to sell theirs.

We bought some cattle with the profit but have had to sell them this year as we could not afford to keep them and this is happening to an awful lot of farms.

Uriel Sat 20-Jun-09 09:33:02

I buy British at the supermarket, unless there's no alternative. Milk is delivered - local, organic.
Eggs come from a local farm, free range and cheap!

<old enough to remember the 'I'm backing Britain' campaign>

littlerach Sat 20-Jun-09 09:36:01

Riven, I read that too, about no contracts.

I went to dds assembly yesterday and one of the presentations was baout "healthy eating" but in part of it they had calculated how many miles their favourite fruit slads travelled.
It was shocking, even to the children.

GentleOtter, it must be incredibly frustrating for you.

We try and boycott the bigger supermarkets, especially tesco, but it is hard.

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 09:49:02

The supermarkets have made it so convenient for people to shop there (to the extent of having roads routed to them, especially on the outskirts of towns) that people struggle to get to local producers eg farmshops etc.

Their meat is cheap because it is mass produced abroad, slaughtered in mega-sizes slaughterhouses (South America), shipped back here, minced, chopped, mixed with God knows what, prepacked and flogged off 'cheaply'.
What the shopper may gain in a bargain, the home farmer loses.

The supermarkets decimated the British fruit growers too resulting in the demise of many orchards, berry farms etc.

mrsruffallo Sat 20-Jun-09 09:52:39

There are no farmers markets near me, which is a crying shame. The super markets have the monopoly on convenience.

Kathyis6incheshigh Sat 20-Jun-09 10:04:03

I agree. We try to support local producers but it often feels like the govt is doing the opposite.
It just seems basic common sense that we need a healthy farming industry. If there was ever a case to subsidise any industry, it's farming.

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 10:04:26

If the agriculture ministers were worthy of their salt then there ought to be a fair choice easily accessible to everyone.
The paperwork and laws in setting up a farm shop are so complex and expensive that it is not possible. I believe that this has been orchestrated so as the supermarkets hold the monopoly.

Would there be so many cases of obesity, heart disease, stroke etc if people were able to access healthy unprocessed local food at decent, affordable prices?

For what it is worth, some local authorities charge so much for stalls at the local farmer's markets that it is not financially worth setting up stall by the time you have paid for the pitch. Funny that. hmm

mrsruffallo Sat 20-Jun-09 10:10:56

Exactly, where are the messages from the agricultural ministers?
Why aren't they making it easier to buy British and enjoy local produce?
The push seems to be coming from independent areas, def not the Government

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 20-Jun-09 10:12:05

We are really lucky, our estate farm and the other tenanted farms have a contract with M&S, we supply at the moment between 40-50% of their milk.

Kathyis6incheshigh Sat 20-Jun-09 10:15:32

Do you think a Conservative govt would be better on this issue? I know traditionally they get more support in the country than towns.

BEAUTlFUL Sat 20-Jun-09 10:18:46

This makes me so sad. What ha happened to this country? What happened to the "Buy British" campaigns?

What can we do, all of us, to tackle this problem?

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 10:22:09

I applaud the efforts of eg Hugh Fearnley- Whittinstall for trying to improve the free range chicken - to - table campaign.

Look how he was deterred by the large supermarkets! It is almost as if they did not want people to be able to afford a better quality chicken. Could this be because the supermarkets own or hold contracts on the huge battery chicken market and ergo the profits?

I think it is criminal that the bulk of the population are only able to access the food that the supermarkets provide (and choose).

I cannot understand why the two main ag ministers are both committed vegetarians? Surely that leads to a conflict of ethics? (I say that as a vegetarian but respect the fact that my beliefs are my own and not those of my family etc)

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 20-Jun-09 10:22:12

And what worries me is the new Farming Minister is vegetarian

mrsruffallo Sat 20-Jun-09 10:25:10

[[ This]] quote comes to mind
Maybe we need to join a campaign?

mrsruffallo Sat 20-Jun-09 10:25:43

Sorry here

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 10:29:07

there seem to be quite a few of them and they refuse to listen to the producers.
It does not seem right to put their ethics before a person's livelihood.

PeachyTheRiverParrettHarlot Sat 20-Jun-09 10:36:03

Perhaps someomne from a Buy bristish campaign could do a MN talk thing? Maybe Hugh F-W? better than an Author i've never heard of or a supermnarket fish counter that doesn't even haave a branch near us (though I recognise others love Waitrose)

We're trying to cut down supermarket shoppingbut it is hard- there's a lot of special diet stuff that you could only otherwise get from H&Barrett and silly prices.

If you search for buy british there's no distinct campaign (well one but the first thing you spot is a paypal donation sign- a bit offputting). Maybe we should have a MN Buy British week?

GentleOtter Sat 20-Jun-09 10:38:19

We (as the consumers and providers of the food for our children) can demand local food but who will listen?

The MP's may seem sympathetic but in reality do not care.
The supermarkets are only interested in profit and are blase as to whether the cheap carrots come from Spain or some poor sod who has no option to sell at the given price.

Consumers are restricted via economy or logistics in order to access British produce. Not everyone has a car or could access public transport to get to an off the beaten track local supplier.

Health and safety rules are so strict that it is becoming more difficult for people to enjoy open days on farms.

I welcome any suggestions how the profile and imminent demise of the British farmer could be raised.

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