Despite the protestations of some in government, probably just clever wording, British farmers are going to be exposed to greater competition as a result of new trade deals, particularly those with Australia, New Zealand and the US.
The problem that so many farmers fail to recognise is in their own business, for so many years protected by EU/UK government subsidy and the restrictions/protection of EU trade policy.
Like the end of the farm subsidy scheme in the UK (how can any chancellor ignore the vote winner of turning the £3bn cost of that towards the NHS, education and social care etc) for politicians the opportunity to appear to contribute to reduced household food bills is attractive, another vote winner.
Many farm business leaders in the ‘industry’ will howl at the prospect of food (meat) imports raised to lower standards, but I don’t really believe they care about welfare to the degree they say when the industry promotes chicken and pork raised in big sheds (or factories?) - it’s as if they’re saying ‘but our factories farms are cleaner than theirs’!
I don’t believe for a second that ‘the industry’ is worried about public health, it’s just concerned for itself. How many products are in use on farms that aren’t made in the UK?
The answer, if farmers still want to raise livestock for meat, is to avoid industry level thinking, and that’s been the answer for some time! Rebel..! Start your own brand and sell a distinctive product to customers that’ll value it and return.
Even if I were an arable farmer I think I’d want to start my own bakery or brewery. If you can’t bake, there are plenty of people who can, and others that want to. Why not learn?
Why give away equity to a food system that screws you?
It’s a mindset that needs to change. Most business owners in the UK face competition, why should farmers be uniquely supported?
The countryside aesthetic argument doesn’t stand scrutiny, are oil refineries or shipping companies paid not to pollute? I don’t think they are, instead they’re clobbered by fines if they do.
The level playing field is bumpy for other commercial enterprises. Adapt. Build a business with customers who know you, who value your products, the way they’re raised, how they taste and the positive contribution you make to their health and the environment.
People still need to eat. Take back control.