- Our headings:
- The issue of Ireland
- Opportunities for farmers post-Brexit
- How the new policy will be constructed - decided after negotiation or a load of Ready-Mix?
- Will the Treasury dominate the decisions?
- How will The Great Repeal Act work?
- A General Election is likely in 2020. Farm policy needs to be sorted before the campaign starts.
- The supply of foreign workforce.
- A 19th century parallel:
- The repeal of the Corn Laws took away farmers’ and landowners’ huge trading benefits.
- Lessons for today.
- The contribution of Practical Farm Ideas magazine.
Many readers will themselves have spent time discussing these with their local NFU, neighbours, MPs and others. In addition there have been numerous conferences on these issues, and will be more. The Brexit coals can be raked over endlessly and I believe there’s a danger the topic will become all consuming taking the farmer’s focus away from the business. Uncertainty can easily lead to inaction while the industry waits for government decisions to be made.
Yet businesses need effective and progressive management irrespective of what happens in Whitehall. This means looking for useful cost-cutting, looking also for areas of risk which can be reduced. In this article I review the Minister’s contribution to the House of Lords meeting, and compare the likely changes with those of a previous time in agricultural history.
* There's confusion about 'quarters' which reader John Raven has kindly pointed out in an email. Google it and you'll find many saying a quarter is half a hundredweight, 28 lbs. But it seems that grain was priced by the Winchester quarter which makes much more sense. John also says "As an aside, just to show how profitable farming must have been in the 19th century, we bought a farm in 1970 for £247/acre. That farm was sold in 1870 for £300/acre. No allowance for then and now values , just the price of the day."