December 2014: Rules fail the simple-language test

Who said the general public aren’t bothered about where their food comes from so long as it’s cheap? At the recent Beverley Food Festival, nothing was further from the truth.

One of the first exhibits I saw was the excellent award-winning LIPS ladies and their smart new mobile kitchen. What a sterling job they do, and they all deserve their medal!

Opening at 10:00am, the Festival was expecting 30,000 visitors during the day, and by noon the LIPS ladies had run out of product and had to go and restock. Fortunately, East Riding Country Pork, a runner-up in the National Pig Awards, was exhibiting close by, so they were able to stock up with the best local products.

The interest was phenomenal and it reinforced my thoughts on how LIPS is such an essential part of our industry. Any producers who have still to give financial support to LIPS should do so now.

Added to the general price woes of the farming sector at present is the continuing amount of red tape landing on our desks. I spent a whole morning at the end of September poring over the 20 pages that arrived from Natural England about the “greening” effect to see what they meant about double payments or double funding and how it would affect my ELS scheme. Eventually I gave up and took it to the agents who do my valuation as I was sure they would understand it. Fortunately, they have a member of staff who’s making a study of such matters.

Why can’t we be told in a couple of paragraphs, in simple language, what we need to or need not do, instead of looking at section three, paragraph two, sub section four, none of which appears to bear any relevance to what we’re either currently doing, or required to do? More jobs for more boys?

I think one day, when more of the world is starving, lots of this control will go out of the window as the population will be keen just to have something in their bellies, no matter how, or where, it’s produced. If we follow the EU red tape to the letter, Europe will be a third world state in 10 years’ time.

At least next year’s pig feed has been drilled in excellent conditions, so no matter what the price, at least there will be something for our pig keepers to get hold of, unless of course “greening” means less cereals and more beans or non-piggy products. And what if pig prices also collapse once again to unsustainable levels? Who needs a merry-go-round when we have agriculture!

Have a Merry Xmas and aim for a prosperous New Year.

Yorkshire farmer Sam Walton is a former pig producer and the founding editor of Pig World

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