A very good spoof letter to Veggie Benn reproduced in full from Calling England
The plight of a Yorkshire Dairy Farmer, one amongst many:
"All across the country, diary farmers are facing the loss of their livelihood. In 1985, there were 28,000 diary farmers in England and Wales. By last November, when Mr Rickatson became one of the nine dairy farmers that throw in the towel each week, there were 11,551 left. As recently as two years ago Britain was self-sufficient in milk. Now we import 1.5 million litres a day. For the farmers who struggle on, their working lives – and that of their herds – have become a grind: such is their despair that one a week commits suicide."Bringing us closer to a food crisis: 13years of Labour and EU contempt for British agriculture
Since Labour has been in power, Britain's self-sufficiency in food has tumbled from 75 per cent to 60 per cent and is falling at the rate of 1 per cent per year. In that time, too, the UK has produced 35 per cent less beef, 25 per cent less lamb and 35 per cent less pork.Benn calls for 'more sustainable food' and for shoppers to buy locally. This vegetarian Minister is more concerned with green environmentalism than truly helping British farmers and British shoppers. Green is the new global religion.
Below is a letter for Hilary Benn which illustrates the problems of bureaucracy and idiocy facing British farmers:
Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR
16 July 2009
Dear Secretary of State,
My friend, who is in farming at the moment, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the "not rearing pigs" business.
In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy.
I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these?
As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?
My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.
If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?
Another point: These pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?
I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send any information you have on that too. Please could you also include the current Defra advice on set aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?
In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits. I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.