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Mon 8 September 2014
Agricultural commodity prices have always been volatile and never more so than at the present time. Milk, grain and sheep meat prices have all fallen dramatically whilst the beef market is undergoing a sluggish recovery. Land prices and land rents remain high but these will have to adjust in the light of what is currently happening in the market place.
Agriculture is a unique industry where you cannot quickly turn on or turn off production. The vast capital sums combined with annual running costs that have to be employed to keep a modern farm running at its full potential will in due course mean that there will have to be a return to some sort of guarantee price system. Either we give farmers some sort of guarantee price or some form of intervention buying system or we will have to consider relying increasingly on imported food. The consumer cannot have it all ways. If the population require genuine wholesome local food that is produced to the highest standards then either they have to pay a proper price for it or by means of tax revenue they will have to support some form of support for agriculture which is meaningful and relates to production.
The present Single Payment Scheme and its successor the Basic Payment Scheme will come to be viewed as a support system for the poorer areas of Europe and a handicap to the fertile and productive areas of northern Europe. The one size fits all approach cannot go on forever and I fear our politicians will only wake up when we are critically short of food.
Glyn Owens - Knighton (01547) 528621