Below is a letter from a Lancashire dairy farmer that appeared in the Farmers Guardian last week.
My husband and I have run a family farm for 45 years.
We have had good times and bad times. But now I think the bad times are becoming more frequent.
Dairy companies do not want to buy from small farms and we get considerably less for our milk than farms with 100-plus cows. We still have to pay the same for feed, fertiliser and so on and we are currently selling our dairy herd.
I am proud to call myself a family farmer but I see no future for family farms. The only people who will be able to live on small farms are those who do not rely on the land for income.
So what do you think when you read that letter?
- Nothing stands in the way of progress.
- Farmers need to get bigger or get out.
- They should have diversified their farm business
- The world doesn’t owe farmers a living.
Hopefully, you thought none of the above. I hope you thought, like me, how on earth did we let it come to this?
- When did we lose sight of the real value of milk?
- How did we let retailer margins become more important than feeding the nation?
- Why are we letting the fabric of rural communities be torn apart?
- Who will speak up for farmers?
I don’t believe farmers are owed a living, but they deserve the chance to try and make a living and that is being snuffed out by an increasingly industrial supply chain that is not interested in what’s right for the consumer and has scant regard for the primary producer. We are losing good people from the land who produce healthy food and maintain the countryside, on a daily basis. Yet this link will take you to a report on the Farmers Guardian website under the heading “Opposition to large farms stifling UK agriculture”.
Reading the letter above, I seriously question whether it is opposition to large farms that is stifling UK agriculture.