Reader Letter: Our farmers need protecting

One reader says that farmers need to be protected. Picture: Chris Hill

One reader says that farmers need to be protected. Picture: Chris Hill - Credit: Chris Hill

One reader thinks the challenges facing farmers need to be acknowledged. What do you think?

'Isn't it time we stopped feeling sorry for farmers?' says James Marston.

I am not quite sure if the article was designed to provoke a reaction or if these comments really are his thoughts?

How are farmers supposed to manage volatility when we have no control over the weather, the price of inputs or the price they receive for their crops when sold?

Farmers have to finance crops for up to 18 months from planting to selling and then we are told the price by the maltsters, millers etc. Most industries work on a cost plus basis.

Subsidies were introduced in order to provide cheap food for the people. Now most subsidies are aimed at environmental schemes. If subsidies are to be paid they should be aimed at food production. With the restrictions and advanced technology involved in pesticides, insects and non-target species are not at risk from modern day farming. Nature is more than capable of looking after itself.

I think James is confusing farmers who work extremely hard for little reward, often working 16 hours a day seven days a week, with the wealthy landowners and land agents getting rich on environmental schemes. The government doesn't seem to be able to separate one from the other.

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The price of land is not relevant until sold, and then the government take a large portion in tax. The return on the capital invested is so low that no other industry would survive. Perhaps James should buy some land at £10,000 an acre and try to make enough to pay the interest on the money borrowed, let alone any repayments on the capital.

Farming is a way of life, a vocation. True farmers are not businessmen or they wouldn't do it.

They are an endangered species and need protecting.

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