It is no wonder that the majority of farmers voted for Brexit. The EU has been one of the biggest drivers of the intensification of agriculture, while its Common Agricultural Policy incorporates the most useless and iniquitous tax since the days of the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Farmers receive subsidy on the basis of their acreage. So the bulk of the £42billion the EU bungs farmers each year goes to the biggest landowners. E urope’s citizens, then, pay the rich to get richer. With supermarkets and global oversupply driving down prices, the average British farm made about £2,000 last year from agriculture.
British farming is a lose-lose. No real wildlife, no real money.
Brexit offers a chance for a brave new farming Britain. Under Andrea Leadsom, head of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, subsidy can be tilted towards wildlife-friendly farms selling locally and polls show this is what the public want.
Funds for research, instead of going towards industrial Big Farmer as usual, can be focused on improving organic and sustainable farming. So, Mrs Leadsom. Let 100 cornflowers bloom.
John Lewis-Stempel’s The Running Hare (Doubleday, £14.99). Order P&P free in the UK from expressbookshop.co.uk/01872 562310