13:49

Farming - a 'processor's' point of view

The blog on British farming has bought out some interesting views - this is from a 'processor'.

"Further thoughts on farming . I am a retired "processor " . I hope not a bad guy or a greedy one as is inferred by your correspondent from Dorset! 

Much of what she says is surely on the money . But I do not think it would be wise to pull up the drawbridge and deny UK consumers access to cheap food to protect our own farmers  . Donald Trump would disagree I know, but we do not need to turn our backs on the benefits of free trade . We will simply have to find a long term way to compete , both globally and locally,  with the land we have . Higher quality and value added  must indeed  be the route to take . The Common Agricultural Policy has insulated us from real competition for a long time . Denmark and Holland have found good niche markets in spite of that. The transition will be very hard on all participants , farmers and processors, as subsidies are likely to be reduced. Hopefully the new post Brexit farm policy/ including some appropriate subsidies will focus on supporting  a direction where we can compete .  

Whatever subsidies given will need to be directed sensibly, but gradually change direction - including upholding the popular wish to preserve our mountain environments for livestock and  thus the livelihoods  of the hill farmers who do that.  

I do not think it is fair to say that the processors take all the gravy from farm  subsidies . They have to make a return too to survive and they are not getting fat in today's very low price environment!"

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