Subsidies

UK after EU

The CAP scheme is worth around £65billion/yr - about 40% of all EU spending.

Farm Incomes 2018 CAP payments are an important part of farm incomes in the UK: the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimated that payments represented 55% of farm incomes in 2014. “2015 the average farm made £2,100 from agriculture and £28,300 from subsidies. The typical cereal farmer actually lost £9,500 by farming cereals". The Times, Large farms in 2014/15 made £22,300 from agriculture, whereas small farms lost £6,600. On average small farm subsidies make up around 78% of the total profit, on medium size farms it’s 61%; and on large farms it’s 46%. Across all farms, subsidies make up around 57% of the total profit on average.

Find what various beneficiaries get Government Briefing

Agricultural profitability if you strip £100/acre out of the farm equations

Big difference between East and West. In East big farmers can expect to make 100k/yr of which about 10% from subsidies. In West with family farmers, lucky to get 20k, at least 15k of that coming from subsidies (ie more land but poorer quality)

Landowner farmer vs the tenant ?

Not much, but do know that tenant farmers often annoyed and powerless to stop landowners taking big chunk..see Tenant Farmers Association

Variations according to crops/livestock? Seasonal variations?

Horticulture never really had subsidies, but got these 1st Single Farm Payment in early 2000s. But get proportionally less as use less land. Yet this small subsidy was enough for Labour gov stopping funding of International Vegetable Research station Wellesbourne - saying they now had subsidies for first time.

Can't think there would be season variations

Do recipients "do nothing"?

I said in The Landworker, that landowners got CAP subsidies for doing nothing. The Estates Manager for Duke of Westminster picked me up on this exact point saying he was disappointed in my start to discussion, and that on their Cheshire Estate they had a large herd of cows giving employment to many, which I should be pleased about. I was but replied that he wasn't doing anything like that on the Estate here in Bowland Fells, as all they did was shoot grouse - which to me counts as nothing. I had a big row over just this with Lord Curry (he of famous Curry Report in early 2000s), saying 'grouse are not what I'd call sustainable food'. I am not alone thinking this - even the Spectator describes the estates as "economic deserts without parallel. " I offered the Estate manager chance of continuing debate either at his farm or the local hostelry on the Duchy of Lancaster's Estate (next to the Duke's) ..never heard back.

Properly I should always say 'for not doing anything in particular'. But I want to get point across, they do not have to do anything, which means they can do nothing - and some do just that.

Redistibution

Clearly some of the subsidies are absolutely necessary for many farmers round here, some of whom are pondering going to food banks. But for all those, there is an awful lot of money leaked to do nothing. And that means it doesn't get back into the local economy

In my book Bittersweet Brexit, I argue that these subsidies should go to workers, when the money could be directed to food and farming we want, and it would go back into rural economies. Because there is no actual targets, much goes unaccounted for in terms of productivity - which is where we started. While this is a good 'political' point, it is difficult to see how it could be enacted, even with good RFID technology. So I am proposing that the subsidy money goes to Local Authorities, for then to distribute to local farmers an basis of what is best for local communities, people and the planet. Local growing is probably the single best contribution we can make to improving Sustainability.

USA

US Subsidies used to be on a par with EU. History of US subsidies. Present Farm Bill works out at $430B over 5 years. Trump plans to slash subsidies

However, in the last few years they have risen dramatically. In the 2019 Farm Bill, $867 Billion (over 10 yrs) was allocated for various food & farm issues, "spurred in part by pressure from farmers battered by President Trump’s trade war with China." Funding continues to go to food stamps (called SNAP) "ensuring that millions of struggling Americans will continue to be able to count on SNAP to help them put food on the table,"

The Bill "provides permanent funding for farmers markets & local food programs. Congress was funding on a temporary basis, five years at a time. These include: promotional funds for local farmers markets, research funds for organic farming, and money for organizations working to train the next generation of farmers at a time when experts have raised concerns about the ageing of the industry.

What is in 2018 Farm Bill includes programmes for Stress Assistance Network, Farm Revenue Protection, directs "USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) to create a new Local Food Policy helping farmers and ranchers plugged into local and regional food systems", a new Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), an Undersecretary for Rural Development, new “Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Forms of Production” with $25 million per year in appropriations authority and extends funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly called ‘food stamps’) without the original rigid and bureaucratic work requirements.)

Why do we not argue for our subsidies to do much the same!.

Let's just stop and think about this. The country fiercest in promoting free trade is subsidising this sector to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars over next ten years. We have no similar commitment. Then the USA expect the rest of the world to lower import taxes to let their stuff in - otherwise they say those countries are denying free trade.

We also need to reflect that the scope of US food & farm subsidies goes way beyond our subsidies just funding landowners to green up a bit. Money is going to extend to farmers' markets, food stamps, organic research, and training the next generation all part of developing farm-food infrastructures.

This is in part because the role of the land in US politics is large - whereas UK voice now quiet. We seem to be loosing more contact with our land. To turn that round we need a massive change in our culture and thinking - AND investment. If we did something like US in terms of subsidies, similar amounts of subsidy here could generate 10X from the original farm production to food delivery, and feeding many people better as well as feeding the local economy.

Curiously enough, as I was writing this page, I bumped into my MP - a staunch Free Marketeer and backer of Boris's Deal