Cheap milk versus farmers' rights?

in Money Saving Polls
34 replies 8.6K views
24

Replies

  • futumschfutumsch Forumite
    17 Posts
    My vote is C. We need to support our farmers. There's no love in farming anymore. Cows are now longer called Daisy, they are a number with a pitifull price on its head, barely enough to cover the cost of keeping it.

    Just considering the cost for a moment, if you buy a pint of British milk, and consider how healthy it is for you, you know its fresh and tasty, and you compare that against a can of Coke. You can make your own mind up but milk dosen't rot your teeth, give you a massive sugar intake or make you fat.

    Tony Hancock got the message....
    http://www.towerbridge.force9.co.uk/real/coughs.ram
    Smile and be happy, things can usually get worse!
  • GeneraliGenerali
    36.4K Posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Farmers are self-employed businessmen like any other: if they can't compete they go bust. I don't think that British farmers should be subsidised to produce huge amounts of a commoditised product that can be produced much more cheaply elsewhere.

    Why should I be forced to pay higher prices, or worse still pay subsidies from my taxes, to prop up someone else's business? I happens that I chose to buy more expensive better quality milk (I get most of my milk from Neal's Yard Dairy) than the bog standard but I should have the choice in a free society.

    Why should someone that's stuggling on a low income have to pay more for their milk whilst there is someone that is desperate to sell their milk for far less than that person is currently paying?
  • A culmination of replies to some of the posts........

    There is only so much diversification you can do before your core business starts to suffer, and also only opportunities in certain areas of the country - Essex and the South East being a great one, also most businesses want to farm and not diversify so that they can afford to farm. Farming is a way of life and that makes it unique to other businesses however, this doesn't mean that farmers aren't business men as if they aren't these days, they go under pretty quickly (unless you're a townie moving out and buying a farm - then you can farm until all of your money has gone!!)

    The single farm payment is too much of a big thing to go through and explain here, but you have to farm to get it, you can't just give up and still receive the money. Also, the reform of the Common Ag Policy (CAP) which resulted in the Single Farm Payment aim is to reduce subsidy levels over the next 12 years to the fact that market forces take over at that stage (if there is an industry left!). You can argue the rights and wrongs of subsidies until the cows come home, but everything is subsidised. Take air flights for example, if there was tax on aviation fuel, how many people would actually be flying each year etc. Farmers would be over the moon if subsidies went tommorrow and it resulted in a level playing field, but lets face it, that is not going to happen.

    The price of milk is irrelevant, most people won't have noticed that over the last 3 years, the retail price has gone up by over 20p for a 4 pint pot. In a weekly shop, that increase is insignifficant, wheras the price increase on fags and booze is not to a lot of people in the uk whatever their income level.

    New Zealand is seen as the panacea as they have no subsidies so to speak, but their industries have plenty of problems, differing welfare levels and differing legislation.

    Lets be honest, the only reason that inflation is being kept under control in this country is due to the supermarkets control over the food markets and continual price squeze on the producer hence why no serious OFT investigations. If food prices were where they should be in terms of passing back costs to the consumer e.g energy, labour etc, the country would have gone pop a while back.

    Farming is a global market, but not a competitive one due to unlevel playing field. Example of that is part of the CAP reform there was a 1 page document giving the rules for a certain part of legislation. DEFRA turned this into a book of 25 pages with more legislation on top.

    You can't import milk (yet) as it is a perishable fresh product, and also the cost of transport is prohibitive, therefore the supermarkets are loath to do this as their product isn't so cheap compared to their competitors.
  • I think you may be missing the point about the milk price - the farmer receives a fraction of the price you pay the supermarket - that is why it is unfair. Most tennant farmers don't receive enough money to cover the cost of producing the milk, particularly if they count any cost for their time. We are tennant farmers and we both have other jobs as well in order to pay the rent. The reason we do this is so we and our children can live in the countryside, eating home-grown meat and vegetables - yes that is a life style choice but the supermarkets are still taking the mick!
  • Milk price to farmer 18-19 pence per litre, you pay 44-51 pence per litre. Government motion says that 18 pence per litre is unaccounted for in terms of what the supermarkets and processors have released to them. The processors definately aren't making huge sums of money (or so their published figures suggest), so there's only one place left!!. See here for some more info.
  • mad_cash_cowmad_cash_cow Forumite
    68 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    "futumsch My vote is C. We need to support our farmers. There's no love in farming anymore. Cows are now longer called Daisy, they are a number with a pitifull price on its head, barely enough to cover the cost of keeping it. "

    Many of us are splendid pedigree beasts, and have fine names to match, thank you very much!

    As far as the poll goes, the term "decoupling", usually applied to the single farm payment breaking the link between production levels and subsidy payments should, I think, also be applied to the current relationship between what the farmer receives for a litre of milk, and what we pay in the supermarket.



    The choice is not either cheap milk or viable dairy farms, it is massive intermediary profits or viable UK farming.



    Relying on imports to feed our population has huge implications. Politically we would be at the mercy of third countries which we rely on to feed our nation. We would have no say in the food hygeine,animal welfare standards, GM crop usage, chemicals used etc in another country, and the environmental impact of transporting bulky comodities such as milk unnecessarily large distances are not to be ignored.

    We stand by and watch UK farming perish at our peril. We all need to eat!

    Cow getting off her soap box now!!
    MOOOOOOOOOOO
    The cow is of the bovine ilk,
    One end is moo, the other milk.
  • i normally get my moo juice from the local Bargain Boozer as it's at the bottom of my street. Usually buy a 2 litre plastic carton jobbie. Never seen a milk man on my estate.
  • black-saturnblack-saturn
    13.9K Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    All farmers are poor of course. You can tell that by the huge farm houses they live in with all those bedrooms they can let out to farm stay holiday makers and by their land rovers they drive around their huge acres of land.
    2008 Comping Challenge
    Won so far - £3010 Needed - £230
    Debt free since Oct 2004
  • hjb123hjb123 Forumite
    32K Posts
    All farmers are poor of course. You can tell that by the huge farm houses they live in with all those bedrooms they can let out to farm stay holiday makers and by their land rovers they drive around their huge acres of land.

    The 'huge farm houses they live in' are in the majority been passed down through generations of the same family.

    The 'bedrooms the let out to farm stay holiday makers' are to try and gain extra income - diversification - as the money that farming now brings in is virtually nil and not enough to survive on

    The 'landrovers they drive round' are necessary to drive on the fields and transport feed and other farming equipment like trailers etc about.
    Weight Loss - 102lb
  • farmersam wrote:
    A culmination of replies to some of the posts........

    There is only so much diversification you can do before your core business starts to suffer, and also only opportunities in certain areas of the country - Essex and the South East being a great one, also most businesses want to farm and not diversify so that they can afford to farm. Farming is a way of life and that makes it unique to other businesses however, this doesn't mean that farmers aren't business men as if they aren't these days, they go under pretty quickly (unless you're a townie moving out and buying a farm - then you can farm until all of your money has gone!!)

    The single farm payment is too much of a big thing to go through and explain here, but you have to farm to get it, you can't just give up and still receive the money. Also, the reform of the Common Ag Policy (CAP) which resulted in the Single Farm Payment aim is to reduce subsidy levels over the next 12 years to the fact that market forces take over at that stage (if there is an industry left!). You can argue the rights and wrongs of subsidies until the cows come home, but everything is subsidised. Take air flights for example, if there was tax on aviation fuel, how many people would actually be flying each year etc. Farmers would be over the moon if subsidies went tommorrow and it resulted in a level playing field, but lets face it, that is not going to happen.

    The price of milk is irrelevant, most people won't have noticed that over the last 3 years, the retail price has gone up by over 20p for a 4 pint pot. In a weekly shop, that increase is insignifficant, wheras the price increase on fags and booze is not to a lot of people in the uk whatever their income level.

    New Zealand is seen as the panacea as they have no subsidies so to speak, but their industries have plenty of problems, differing welfare levels and differing legislation.

    Lets be honest, the only reason that inflation is being kept under control in this country is due to the supermarkets control over the food markets and continual price squeze on the producer hence why no serious OFT investigations. If food prices were where they should be in terms of passing back costs to the consumer e.g energy, labour etc, the country would have gone pop a while back.

    Farming is a global market, but not a competitive one due to unlevel playing field. Example of that is part of the CAP reform there was a 1 page document giving the rules for a certain part of legislation. DEFRA turned this into a book of 25 pages with more legislation on top.

    You can't import milk (yet) as it is a perishable fresh product, and also the cost of transport is prohibitive, therefore the supermarkets are loath to do this as their product isn't so cheap compared to their competitors.

    Hi farmer Sam,

    It is nice to hear from a real farmer, ie one who gets out of bed early and has to find his rent 4 times a year. Many farmers confuse their roles as landowners, with the completely different task of producing good food and the discussion gets lost in the cross subsidies. In many ways I'm on your side BUT I don't see why the EU should take a load of VAT off me and give it to you.

    Perhaps you can give us all some facts from your real experience; after all we don't know who you are:
    How many acres do you rent ?
    What is the rent per acre ?
    Where in general terms is your farm, I appreciate that making money "on the side" must be easier in the home counties - infact most of the farmers, in the posher home counties get a huge chunk of their income from being "something in the City".
    How big is your subsidy cheque and how much of that is base level payment and how much for being part of the environmental entry level or intermediate level scheme. (My understanding is that the base level payment is paid for keeping the grass cut - in farming terms that is called hay and it can usually be sold, especially to the horsey culture industry, for enough to pay the rent per acre ? Then you can sit, beer in hand and admire the view ?)

    Like Margaret Thatcher, I get up early in the morning and find myself listening to the R4 farming program. About a week or so ago, they had an interview with a woman up in the hills somewhere. She seemed to be on her own and a one person band with 168 acres. You could tell she was getting desperate because her 10,000 pound subsidy cheque had not turned up. Now to me 10,000 sounds like quite a lot of money for looking after a bit of England about 70 times the size of Trafalgar Square, and it compares well with what we pay to pensioners - but perhaps she had signed up to strict 15 year environmental contracts and has lots of dry stone walls to look after. What do you think ?

    The product you produce has a higher level of demand in the UK than in most other countries. THe UHT stuff on the Continent is easily transported but what does that taste like ? Goats milk is probably healthier and the Finns have managed to pass their crown of heart attack experts to the Scots, by restricting their intake of dairy products. That said, I love a good cheese, chomp through the steak produced from the bull calves and would not want to see cows old before their time from the hormones pumped into them in USA to boost milk yields.
    Have you tried to get together with other producers and gang up on the dairy companies who supply the supermarkets ?
    Any chance of running your own farm shop ?
    Do you do have any diversification on your holding ?
    Do you do anything to add value to your output of milk ?
    Are your beasts specially valuable through champion blood lines etc. or do you have to buy them in from all over the country, spreading TB in the same way that timber merchants spread Dutch elm disease ?

    Some criticism has been made on these pages of the houses enjoyed by farmers - I see that as a red herring, its the one part of the farm that gets done for rates/council tax. Does the landlord throw in a decent house and maintain it ? There is a farmer near me who has to operate out of a caravan -perhaps he is Polish.

    Good luck to you and the family, I think the country is a far better healthier place to bring up children.

    Mary.

    A few further thoughts on 21st April.

    Ah well the moneysaving experts seem to have run out of steam on something central to our way of life and family budgets like predatory supermarkets and agricultural subsidies.

    I've been listening to the R4 farming program again:

    One Simon Fairley (who he ?) was complaining that a relatively small rental farm was being sold off in lots by Somerset County Council and would nolonger be available as a starter farm for new entrants to the farming industry. Is this the same as building a school on green belt land and then a few years later selling its playingfields as building plots ? It is maximising the council's return as down there the horsey industry probably needs some more paddocks. THe number of "farms" is going UP, just compare the number of claims for single farm payment, with the number of initial IACS registrations.
    (IACS=Instrument of Agony from the Civil Service: the annual return that predates the latest single farm payment method of administering the subsidies). Has farmer sam got anything to say about the trend to big professional farms and hobby "farms", with the family farm caught in the middle ?

    I was more interested in the farm in question "Balham Hill" where the tenants have set off climbing the farming ladder (?): A quick google found it had a web site. It is run by Richared & Sarah & 3 kids. Perhaps they are an example of how it can still be done - they had even managed to get Hugh Fearlesly Eatsitall, of "River Cottage" fame, to appear in one of their publicity photos.
    Google also turned up the suggestion that the river authority was spending 5000 pounds restoring washed away hedge banks because of their flood prevention qualities (handy little contract for someone).
    If the farm is being sold in lots, I'd be interested to know who is taking over the contract to maintain and enhance the wild life (all the subsidy on that one could be repayable with interest, as the tenant or the landlord should be jointly and severally liable).
    Anyone interested can find more details of how to make a living from a small rented farm by putting Balham Hill Farm into advanced google.

    I'm still waiting for a real farmer to expalin in detail how the subsidy system works !

    Mary

    ===============================================================

    Farmer Sam never did get back to me with some concrete details of how the subsidy system now works; however under the freedom of information act it is possible to dig out some of this information. It could be almost as much fun as checking how much your neighbours paid for their gin palace at the end of the street on "nethouseprices".

    Just for the record The British Sugar Corporation was up at the top of the lists for the last year of the old system, getting paid 100,000,000 of your money and mine; presumably helping to to put third world cane sugar farmers out of business with expensive subsidised beat sugar ? It makes you proud to be European doesn't it.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides