January 3 2015
This morning I heard the new President of the National Farmer’s Union speaking. The subject was the new CAP legislation regarding the Single Farm Payment made to every farmer and landowner in Britain. The new rules are designed to nudge famers, particularly arable farmers, towards a cropping pattern of “more than one type of crop”. Not a bad target you might think. Very good for soil fertility. Even better, or at least as good, for the siskins, the hedge sparrows, the fragile pollinators.
The new President said that the new rules would cause the utmost inconvenience and inefficiency to the arable farmers of Britain causing them to scurry from field to field in their enormous vehicles contributing to higher carbon emissions and greater food miles. There you are. That is the leader of the Nation’s farmers putting a scotch on the CAP moves to do it all better. Why doesn’t someone challenge this doctrine of classic “I’ve only got a few years to serve and let’s carry on with what we are used to..”?
I feel particularly annoyed as I see this CAP reform as the moment for Nomad Micro-dairies. We can help the arable boys and girls to reach this wonderful new target. This target of refreshing soil fertility; of making it juicy and water-retaining; of making the country lanes once more the place of browsing cattle who have escaped; of giving the arable farmer the adrenalin rush when the phone rings at 3 in the morning as a motorist spots cattle massed on the central reservation! No…. this could be the way in for the nomad and the youthful and the impecunious. This could make a real difference. I want – we want El Presidente to support us.