Why do they only bury farmers 3 foot deep why they die?
So they can still get a handout!
If you are a farmer you are perhaps outraged by such a statement, lately I have come to fear that it is generally what many people think.
Until recently I had spent all of my life in either the Scottish borders or Northumberland, both very much rural counties. Most of the people I mix with are from farming, and the ones who aren’t have a good grasp of rural life. Living in this warm agricultural environment my whole life, gave me a rose tinted view of what the general public thought about farmlife. I imagined that most were of the opinion that farmers were hard working, salt of the earth people who work long hours, loved their stock and often got a raw deal. I like to think in these areas, farmers are viewed with respect and affection. I naively thought this extended itself to the rest of the country.
Travelling down to the big smoke this year for flockstars opened my eyes.
The first person I spoke to was my taxi driver in a black cab from the train station. After finding out I was a farmer he was quick to assume that I was sitting in a castle upon thousands of acres, shooting grouse for fun and claiming a ridiculous payment from the government. (If only!) He was jovial about it, but did say he resented the fact thatin his words; ‘you lot are always on the news being miserable, complaining about one thing or the other.’
Over the next few weeks a similar pattern emerged, people either had virtually no knowledge, ‘I thought they only had shepherds in the bible’ to too much knowledge ‘the average subsidy paid to a farmer is £28000, how can farmers be struggling? that’s more than my wage!’
I would try to justify my career choice to these people and could wax lyrical about rents, land prices, lamb prices, milk prices, land agents, decoupling, welfare, traceability etc etc but inevitably their eyes would glass over, no one wants to be preached to.
So what is the solution? In order for farming to survive and weather this storm, the number one goal is surely to have the consumer, the public on side. We need to change their perception.
‘ Farmers are given hand outs by the government for nothing, they are greedy, miserable bastards and they are always complaining about everything; poor harvest, low milk prices, poor lamb prices. Can’t be that bad if I’m paying so much at the supermarket and butchers. They all live on farms worth millions, how can they be struggling?’
Farmers are hard pushed, hardworking people, who are restricted at every turn by red tape and bureaucrats. Who dread the step of some inspector, coming to pick fault, who gamble with their lively-hood every year; ‘will the next forcast wipeout my youmg lambs? Should I sell my corn this month or next? How much will feed be? What new rules will some pen pusher invent for me to adhere to? Will I cover my rent? What price will the supermarkets dictate to me, will it be enough?
How can it be done?
Answers on a postcard!!