FG BUY&SELL        FARMERS WEATHER       ARABLE FARMING        DAIRY FARMER      FARMERS GUARDIAN        AGRIMONEY        OUR EVENTS        MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS        BLOGS        MORE FROM US

Opinion- Justin Fox, historian and environmentalist

Brexit

Following last June’s Brexit referendum, it was estimated 58 per cent of farmers voted to leave. How good a decision this was is yet to be determined, though it is fairly obvious most of the rhetoric on the state of our agriculture is pure hyperbole.

 

While I do not doubt Government will strive to secure as good a deal for UK farmers as it can get, I expect political expediency will rear its head.

 

As contributors of £6b a year into the Common Agricultural Policy but recipients of just £3 billion, on the surface this is an obvious area of net save.

 

Perhaps this redistributed money can go towards subsiding farmers, but what will other industries say? Farmers will not be the only ones affected by the introduction of EU tariffs on British goods, but not all of them will land such a windfall in compensation.

 

Therefore, how sustainable is this £3b subsidy once rumours start flying the opposition would be more equal in handing out its aid?

 

This is not to say, trade tariffs will totally isolate British farmers from continental markets.

 

However, with a price hike on key exports, such as beef, prospectively reaching as high as 59 per cent, what is the reason for European consumers to buy British?

 

Aside from those with an anti-EU agenda who particularly want to see an independent UK flourish, our custom across Europe is likely to plummet.

 

True, this could be offset via free trade agreements with scores of other non-EU states. But these take time to agree, especially as it is widely known we are negotiating from a relative position of weakness.

 

On top of this, the cost of exporting goods is set to skyrocket. Selling to the Commonwealth sounds nice, but how affordable is it for small-scale farmers to ship their produce to Australia?

 

If we cannot make savings externally, then penny-pinching becomes the name of the game at home.

 

Labour costs could be our salvation, as while we may lose about 67,000 vital seasonal farm workers from primarily Eastern Europe, increased investment in automation could be our salvation.

 

Globally, computers and machinery have been used in all aspects of agriculture.

 

Tending to crops, caring for animals and monitoring weather patterns – every aspect of producing food is done by increasingly intelligent devices.

 

Rather than simply pay farming to simply go on, business as usual, Government would do far better to subsidise the installation and maintenance of these systems and train farmers in their use.

 

Let us make such a hefty outlay now before the storm hits, so we are prepared should Brexit go badly. The competitiveness of our farming depends on such innovation and we must adapt to remain competitive in the new Europe to come.

Farmers Guardian
Posted by Farmers Guardian
PopularCommentsRSS Feed
Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

Recent Posts

Recent Posts


From the editor: Dairy industry collaboration is the only way forward
"The milk market has set back a lot of farmers who "...
24 days ago
Opinion- Justin Fox, historian and environmentalist
"Yes, there's a ridiculous amount of hyperbolae "...
31-Jan-2017
Young Farmer Focus: Sophie Barnes, Taupo, New Zealand
"Brilliant get up & go for it attitude that NZs "...
09-Jan-2017
From the editor: Rural communities need more than just vast housing estates
"You need to hit the National Planning Policy F"...
25-Nov-2016
Opinion - There's a great future on the horizon once the Brexit shock has died down
"Taking your comments in order, don't hold your "...
21-Jul-2016
Waiting
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds