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Should UK farmers be qualified

EarlofSidcup 20 Nov 01 - 09:29 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 20 Nov 01 - 09:49 AM
MMario 20 Nov 01 - 09:49 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 20 Nov 01 - 09:51 AM
Jon Freeman 20 Nov 01 - 11:09 AM
Llanfair 20 Nov 01 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Mike Cahill 20 Nov 01 - 11:37 AM
Mac Tattie 20 Nov 01 - 02:09 PM
Gareth 20 Nov 01 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 21 Nov 01 - 04:24 AM
nutty 21 Nov 01 - 05:59 AM
EarlofSidcup 21 Nov 01 - 06:13 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 21 Nov 01 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 21 Nov 01 - 06:35 AM
GUEST 21 Nov 01 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 21 Nov 01 - 07:54 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 21 Nov 01 - 09:32 AM
EarlofSidcup 21 Nov 01 - 11:05 AM
Gareth 21 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 01 - 09:15 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 01 - 09:18 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 01 - 09:18 PM
Liz the Squeak 22 Nov 01 - 01:00 AM
EarlofSidcup 22 Nov 01 - 01:56 AM
Liz the Squeak 22 Nov 01 - 04:44 PM
Llanfair 22 Nov 01 - 06:24 PM
Gareth 22 Nov 01 - 06:35 PM
Llanfair 22 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM
John Routledge 22 Nov 01 - 08:19 PM
Liz the Squeak 23 Nov 01 - 05:24 PM
Gareth 23 Nov 01 - 06:29 PM
Llanfair 23 Nov 01 - 07:06 PM
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Subject: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: EarlofSidcup
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 09:29 AM

The UK farming industry is in a mess. Is it the fault of the farmers, who may have caused BSE and helped spread foot and mouth. Should a farmer be qualified in Science, Chemistry Biology etc before being allowed to farm (or collect a subsidy)?


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 09:49 AM

Publish league tables of productivity and quality, with arbitrary and ridiculously high standards to be met. Penalty for failure to reach these required standards should be a trip to the gulag with all property handed over to the state. That way it should be quite simple to collectivise production for the common good, and centralise management of production in line with a sound planned political economy. Such a simple idea, I wonder why nobody's tried it before?


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: MMario
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 09:49 AM

?? You really think it would *help*? Requiring a qualification would probably compound any problems. And trying to blame the farmers for *those* two problems is a pretty far reach.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 09:51 AM

I think the word you should have used was "certified"


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 11:09 AM

Ditto to MMario.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Llanfair
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 11:26 AM

Who is at fault?
The feed companies that think it's OK to grind up the remains of animals and add it to the feed of vegetarian livestock. And the government that let them do it.
The feed companies that add antibiotics to animal feed as a matter of course, thus rendering them useless in the long term to fight infections in stock and people. And the government that let them do it.
I won't even mention the hormone additives that get into the water table and make the fish change sex.
Any one who treats farming purely as an industry, maltreating animals and birds in the name of cheap food, poisoning the land and water in the process.
Bron.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST,Mike Cahill
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 11:37 AM

and what about a government that allows local slaughter houses go bust which means that not only do the animals suffer by being transported hundreds of miles to be killed but it provides fast national distribution of bugs, and infections


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Mac Tattie
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 02:09 PM

I am an electrician. Many of the tasks I have to carry out require me to be able to prove my competence in court. Arround farms there are many dangers from chemicals, machinery, slury and animals, it seems almost ludicrous that those in charge need no qualifications at all. They may well have been farming for years but running things on a "custom and practice" basis has too often been the road to disaster. After the debachle of the recent foot and mouth pantomime, where many farmers made their bigest profit in years and hotels, shops, B&B's and other toursist busineses went bust, Britain must decide how many farms and farmers are now unfit and redundant. cheers


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Gareth
Date: 20 Nov 01 - 06:41 PM

Dai - Believe it or not that was the situation between 1940 & 1946.

Farms not producing, or efficient, were taken over by the County Based Agricultural Committees. Tennents were disposed. Owners had thier farms taken over and were paid an assesed equivelent rental.

Let us never forget that Foot and Mouth would not have spread so fast and quickly last year if it had not been for the "3 Card tricks" being played by sheep farmers shifting woolybacks around to fiddle the EU subsidies.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 04:24 AM

Anyone heard of Agricultural Colleges? There are quite a few of them in the UK, and their carriculum is a damn sight more comprehensive than, "Science, Chemistry Biology..."

I liked the tongue in cheek suggestion for an answer to the problem proposed by "The one and only Dai" - I say tongue in cheek because this is exactly what the Russian and Chinese communist regimes did and thousands starved. Before the 1917 revolution in Russia, Russia was self sufficient with respect to food production. Post revolution and after the Kulak revolt there was not one year when Russia did not have to import grain to feed it's population.

Gareth as to the farmer's "3 Card tricks". I will give you a hypothetical problem and you tell me what you would do as a sheep farmer to solve the problem. You have a sheep farm that you have built up over a number of years. Your flock is not infected but lies within a controlled area. As the market for lamb and mutton is depressed you can roughly expect at best £15 per animal, only problem is you cannot get them to market because of movement restrictions. These same restrictions would also apply even if your farm was situated in an area where there were no diagnosed cases of foot and mouth. You are facing financial ruin, you have produced but you cannot sell, and the government who imposed the restrictions is not going to compensate you to keep animals that are depreciating in value while your costs in maintaining that flock remain the same, or are increasing. You however are in a restricted area and a case of foot and mouth is diagnosed on a neighbouring farm. You know that if your heard gets infected and has to be destroyed you will receive compensation from the EU to the tune of £45 per animal. You tell me, Gareth, as that farmer what would you do?

Since the end of the Second World War British farming has been efficient. Unfortunately it became recognised as a business that institutional investors wanted to get into. Large farming conglomerates were created and best return for the investor became the governing creed. More and more of Britains agriculture and husbandry became managed by accountants, who only ever read a balance sheet and have no feeling, or long term interest in whatever industry they run. That was the situation that allowed the introduction of the practices mentioned by Bron above.

The governments handling of the crisis was ineffectual and haphazard. At times I get the distinct impression that the government of this country would like nothing better than for the entire farming sector in the UK to collapse and go out of business.

Another good point mentioned above was brought up by Mike Cahill. The closure of small local slaughter houses was pushed through by government at the insistance of the EU (EEC at that time) The cost for each to meet european standards was prohibitive - so they closed. During the recent foot and mouth outbreak the first infected animals were diagnosed at a slaughter-house in Essex - but they contracted foot and mouth from contaminated feed (pig swill) on a farm in Northumberland.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: nutty
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 05:59 AM

The vast majority of British farmers are qualified - either , as mentioned above by having attended Agricultural College or by years developing a craftmanship that cannot be comprehended by the layman. Do not think that the name farmer is synonymous with labourer or yokel - many are highly intelligent and highly qualified and left alone (without interference from the government or the EEC) would run highly successful and profitable farms. As with all businesses/industries, when forced to cut corners, mistakes are inevitable.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: EarlofSidcup
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 06:13 AM

If they are so clever, why did they feed cattle with meat and bone meal? They say they did not know what was in it. If you were a qualified mechanic, would you put petrol into a diesel engine?


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 06:18 AM

Only if it was cheaper, and I was going to slughter my car before any ill effects showed up.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 06:35 AM

To answer EarlofSidcup's question;

Probably because they bought cattle feed from a recognised, established and reputable Cattle Feed supplier, whose produce should have been checked by MAFF.

Not that I have much faith in the efficiency of that government department who according to their maps show sheep farms in the middle of the North Sea.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 06:51 AM

Please explain how the Irish Farms with a few excepitions, avoided the dreaded Foot and Mouth?. Good managment, good Government or good luck. Pesonally I think the British government made blunder after blunder, they were useless.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 07:54 AM

To Guest above I agree totally with what you say. In Ireland the response to the threat of Foot and Mouth was met with good management on the part of the government, farming community and the nation as a whole. Just by the nature of the beast - a little good luck as well - particularly as not all that far away in the UK the means of disposing of carcasses was mass incineration.

One possible reason for the difference in attitude could well be the relative importance of farming to both countries - Farming is about twelve times more important to Ireland than it is to the UK (England in particular).

That, "the British government made blunder after blunder, they were useless." is sadly an undeniable fact.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 09:32 AM

Stavanger Bill,

The three-card-trick that Gareth was referring to is the curious practice of sending your sheep to live in a field in Brecon for three weeks so that it can qualify to be sold in supermarkets as "Welsh Lamb" (in accordance with EU definitions)


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: EarlofSidcup
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 11:05 AM

I find it hard to believe that johnny farmer could be so dishonest!


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Gareth
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM

Bill Close but no cigar ! As a Minstral says but slightly adrift, it was the habit of Farmers of putting in a claim for a large number of sheep (subsidised), and then having to produce that number of Sheep when the man from the ministry came round to count them.

No records No paperwork, but a large number of "Grey" Sheep being whisked from farm to farm.

Interestingly they are now talking about ear tags and ID numbers for sheep ( Cattle have had then for some years ) to stop these frauds, - perhaps they will be called Baaaah Codes.

Tho there does seem to be suspicions that some F&M infections were not accidental.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 09:15 PM

It is a market and an industry. Let the course of free markets and natural causes weed out the weakest. The strong will survive.

If the industry goes bankrupt, there is always beef and mutton from Australia.

It don't take a degree to shovel dung.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 09:18 PM

It wern't the brillance of the Irish that kept the disease at bay.

It were the peat in the Irish soil (acidic) which kills the spores. In the North, it showed up, but their soil is base in its PH (a little like the locals there)


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 01 - 09:18 PM

It wern't the brillance of the Irish that kept the disease at bay.

It were the peat in the Irish soil (acidic) which kills the spores. In the North, it showed up, but their soil is base in its PH (a little like the locals there)


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 01:00 AM

I come from a family that had been in farming for at least 300 years. Never had any trouble with disease until last century, with the increased amount of movement between farms, the increasing amount of senseless rules and regulations laid on us by the EEC/EU (note how the word 'Economic' has fallen out....)and the sky rocketing price of commercial feed. To get enough money to make farming viable, the land used for hay and slurry (a feed made with rotting grass, don't go eugh, you eat cheese don't you? That's just rotting milk) to provide winter feed, had to be turned over to cattle, who then ate all the grass that could have been the winter feed... so you have to buy in commercial feed, which, because the land is all being used to keep cattle, because meadows are not commercially viable, has to be made with whatever waste products are available to try to keep the costs down and to afford that you have to keep more cattle..... see the circle forming?

When farmers worked small scale farms and could slaughter their own animals, the price of meat was relatively cheap. My grandfather always kept a pig for that very reason, even though he was dairy farmer. As soon as slaughter houses were introduced, the price increased, because someone had to be employed to drive the animals to the slaughterhouse (and that's drive as in walk them there, so slaughterhouses had to be nearby or else you walked all the fat off them), the slaughterhouse had to be paid for doing a job the farmer had done up till then. Then there was the cost of transporting the meat back to the shops.

Once the EEC started bringing in milk quotas the situation became ludicrous, with prosperous, self supporting farms supplying a local area at a reasonable price suddenly becoming too small to be financially viable, the cattle are sold off (for stupidly low prices) or slaughtered (at a cost to the farmer) and the price of milk goes up in that area. As soon as you start putting lots of milk from 3 counties together and selling it over 5 counties, you enlarge the risk of spreading disease. 1 tuburcular cow can now infect half the country without ever leaving it's field. Mass farming means the farmer cannot always see which animal is sickening and it goes unnoticed. The government declares the slaughter of all animals in that area, infected or not, and the price of milk goes up again. Compensation does not always cover the market value and is never enough to buy in the same amount of healthy stock, so more land is turned over to keeping more cattle to raise money to pay off the mortgage on the animals..... See the circle again?

When a farmer was a farmer, qualifications were not essential. Now that the farmer has to be an accountant and an economist, the qualifications required are a bloody sight different!

(Incidentally, the man who owns the most farms and land in the south west has probably never spent more than a day in a milking parlour in his whole 40 odd years.... He may be Duke of Cornwall, but he has no idea how it works....)

LTS


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: EarlofSidcup
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 01:56 AM

Yes, Liz, but this is not really any different from any other industry in the modern world.

I agree that the EU has not helped, and the sooner it collapses under the weight of its own regulations the better.

But if things are so bad in farming, how come the price of ag land has not fallen?


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 04:44 PM

Because there has to be something at the end of it. You wouldn't buy a house for £50,000 and then sell it for £20,000 would you?

And as sure as eggs is eggs, you buy land for agricultural use, and some bastard will offer you twice as much to put houses or industrial estates on it.

Keep doing that and soon we will have no farms left, no open spaces to walk, no greenbelt, no woods or copices, no timber industry, no paper industry, no meat or dairy produce, nothing to stop soil erosion, nothing to produce carbon dioxide, no atmosphere.....

LTS


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Llanfair
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 06:24 PM

Liz, I think you meant sileage, not slurry, as winter cattle feed. The new mown grass is mixed with molasses to make a very distinctively odourous feed.
Slurry is the watered-down poo they spray on the land in the winter.
Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 06:35 PM

Actually I understand that some poultry "factorys" do feed slurry to the chickens. Hence new meaning to the words Chicken S**T

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Llanfair
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 06:37 PM

God, that's awful!!!


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: John Routledge
Date: 22 Nov 01 - 08:19 PM

I don't feel like a nightcap now!!


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 23 Nov 01 - 05:24 PM

yes, I meant sileage, not slurry, but yes, slurry is also fed to stock as Llanfair says....

And yes. If say, the cosmetics industry collapsed overnight, there would be a lot of people out of work, but the country would not starve as a result. No-one eats mascara or lip gloss for lunch..... and that's a very modern industry.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Gareth
Date: 23 Nov 01 - 06:29 PM

Bron

Don't you mean "thats Fowl"

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Should UK farmers be qualified
From: Llanfair
Date: 23 Nov 01 - 07:06 PM

Good grief!!!!! the later it gets, the worse the puns!!!!
Cheers, Bron.


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