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Would Irish farmers be better off if farm subsidies were abolished completely?


NapperTandy

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Nov 9, 2008
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The price of food has got too cheap. Farmers don't seem to have copped on that the real real reason that farm subsidies exist is to keep the price of food down to the general population. It is all about keeping the inflation rate down across the EU. If the food price doubled, workers would start demanding huge pay rises. Rowdy farmers are a lot easier to deal with than a hungry population. If food subsidies were abolished, food would find its own true market level.

Why don't Irish farmers realise that they are being taken for a ride by their own farm leaders. If the farm cuts are pushed through a lot of Irish farmers will have to get out of farming. They will have to sell their land at a lower cost than they thought it was worth. The farm leaders realise that this is going happen, but a lot of the larger farmers will take advantage of this situation by buying up the land at a lower cost.

A lot of small Irish farmers should start realising that the IFA leadership is no longer acting in the interest of the broad mass of Irish farming. They should start realising that a complete abolition of farm subsidies would be in the long term interest of Irish farming. They need to cotton on to this fact before it's too late for them.
 

willoughby

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Yes, if people continued to shop locally and not choose cheaper inferior products, imported without quality assurance.
 

Panopticon

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I'm afraid that's not how subsidies work. Subsidies are given out so that the price of food produced within the EU is reduced at point of sale. Farmers gain less from trade, but they earn more from subsidies themselves, which in Ireland often form a significant part of farm income. It's not in their interest to have subsidies removed because the new, higher price they charge would induce people to switch to alternatives to EU-produced food, i.e. food from outside the EU.

I think the CAP should be abolished, but I don't think it would be in the interest of the agricultural sector to do so, just the country as a whole.
 

Galmor

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The OP is way off the mark, farmers have been recieving immense sums of money over the decades through the Common Agricultural Policy- if anything without these handouts, half of them would have been killed off financially years ago. Yes cut the subsidies, and let them fend for themselves. And don't pretend that subsidies work to the detriment of farmers- the complete opposite is the case.
 

NapperTandy

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Yes, if people continued to shop locally and not choose cheaper inferior products, imported without quality assurance.
There is no such thing as cheap food. It is a contradiction in terms. The British Govt is importing cheap meat from Brazil, they couldn't care less what they feed their population. This cheap meat from Brazil is destroying half of the Brazilian rain forest. This is a hidden cost which is never factored into the price.
 

Galmor

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This cheap meat from Brazil is destroying half of the Brazilian rain forest. This is a hidden cost which is never factored into the price.
Hold on now, feeding the population of the world is more important than some forest.
 

NapperTandy

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Hold on now, feeding the population of the world is more important than some forest.
The loss of the Brazilian rain forest is supposed to be a huge factor in climate-change. If climate-change is to be believed it is going to have a detrimental effect on the world's poor
 

NapperTandy

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The OP is way off the mark, farmers have been recieving immense sums of money over the decades through the Common Agricultural Policy- if anything without these handouts, half of them would have been killed off financially years ago. Yes cut the subsidies, and let them fend for themselves. And don't pretend that subsidies work to the detriment of farmers- the complete opposite is the case.
You are missing my point. Of course farmers would have been killed off without the farm payments. But they are only going to disappear gradually over the next ten years. Farmers would be better to look for their complete abolition now. These subsidies are distorting the market in favour of the larger farmers.
 

Galmor

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The loss of the Brazilian rain forest is supposed to be a huge factor in climate-change. If climate-change is to be believed it is going to have a detrimental effect on the world's poor
Climate change- warming or cooling? No keeping poorer countries like Brazil from trading in agricultural produce with the rest of the World or Europe; for the sake of some greedy Irish or French farmers is what would have a detrimental effect on the world's poor. Whether it be CAP, or REPS cut them off of it- they've had it too easy for decades now. And if they start whinging and blocking up the City centre with their tractors again, well tough- the system will progress regardless.
 

yehbut_nobut

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In Cloughjordan a group of around 60 households have started a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme. Each household pays a weekly sub covering the cost of the farmers wages, the machinery, land etc.

In effect they each own a share of the farm, and in return get all their fresh produce (fruit and veg, milk, eggs, & meat occsionally). Farmer is guaranteed an income, and the members get to eat fresh organic food that they've seen growing the week before.
 

Panopticon

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You are missing my point. Of course farmers would have been killed off without the farm payments. But they are only going to disappear gradually over the next ten years. Farmers would be better to look for their complete abolition now. These subsidies are distorting the market in favour of the larger farmers.
That's absolutely not the case. CAP has been designed as a cash transfer from the German treasury to small French farm holdings. Large farmers earn the most payments because they earn the most land, and after decoupling, many CAP payments are tied to land. But the distortion of the market isn't in their favour any more than it is in favour of small farmers, i.e. against the consumer.
 

NapperTandy

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Nov 9, 2008
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In Cloughjordan a group of around 60 households have started a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme. Each household pays a weekly sub covering the cost of the farmers wages, the machinery, land etc.

In effect they each own a share of the farm, and in return get all their fresh produce (fruit and veg, milk, eggs, & meat occsionally). Farmer is guaranteed an income, and the members get to eat fresh organic food that they've seen growing the week before.
This is a good idea. Irish farmers need to start thinking outside the box. They need to stop being led by the nose by their leaders, who have hidden agendas. Irish agriculture needs to reinvent itself. It is an important industry for Ireland. If the above scheme was replicated across the countryside, I'm sure many more farmers would be better off financially.
 

NapperTandy

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That's absolutely not the case. CAP has been designed as a cash transfer from the German treasury to small French farm holdings. Large farmers earn the most payments because they earn the most land, and after decoupling, many CAP payments are tied to land. But the distortion of the market isn't in their favour any more than it is in favour of small farmers, i.e. against the consumer.
I'm not up to speed on the whole farm payments system. Are you saying that the farm payments system works in favour of the larger farmers as opposed to the smaller farmers? Why don't the smaller farmers call for the system to be scrapped completely? It no longer works in their interests.
 

arcadeparade

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Jan 30, 2009
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In Cloughjordan a group of around 60 households have started a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme. Each household pays a weekly sub covering the cost of the farmers wages, the machinery, land etc.

In effect they each own a share of the farm, and in return get all their fresh produce (fruit and veg, milk, eggs, & meat occsionally). Farmer is guaranteed an income, and the members get to eat fresh organic food that they've seen growing the week before.
I like the sound of that.

I support the abolishment of C.A.P; but only if farmers then get to take control of food processing, since so most of the profit from food ends up there, and farming becomes about producing food at a community level and sustainably.
 

Panopticon

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I'm not up to speed on the whole farm payments system. Are you saying that the farm payments system works in favour of the larger farmers as opposed to the smaller farmers? Why don't the smaller farmers call for the system to be scrapped completely? It no longer works in their interests.
I can't blame you as it is very complicated and changeable! Essentially the old caricature of CAP is gone. Ray MacSharry saw off the butter mountains, milk lakes, etc. when he was Commissioner. MacSharry excelled as an economic policy-maker in two jurisdictions (Ireland and the EU) over a very brief period of time (five years). Most of the payments are now linked to the amount of previously farmed land owned by the farmer, regardless of production. This is the "Single Farm Payment". In that sense the new subsidy system is neutral as regards production and it is of more benefit to non-intensive agriculture as a percentage of income.
 

belfast

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Sep 24, 2003
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The price of food has got too cheap. Farmers don't seem to have copped on that the real real reason that farm subsidies exist is to keep the price of food down to the general population. It is all about keeping the inflation rate down across the EU. If the food price doubled, workers would start demanding huge pay rises. Rowdy farmers are a lot easier to deal with than a hungry population. If food subsidies were abolished, food would find its own true market level.

Why don't Irish farmers realise that they are being taken for a ride by their own farm leaders. If the farm cuts are pushed through a lot of Irish farmers will have to get out of farming. They will have to sell their land at a lower cost than they thought it was worth. The farm leaders realise that this is going happen, but a lot of the larger farmers will take advantage of this situation by buying up the land at a lower cost.

A lot of small Irish farmers should start realising that the IFA leadership is no longer acting in the interest of the broad mass of Irish farming. They should start realising that a complete abolition of farm subsidies would be in the long term interest of Irish farming. They need to cotton on to this fact before it's too late for them.


I would be good for Irish farming.
It happened in New Zealand by in the 1980s
90% of farmer went out of business 10% stayed and not compete at world food prices.
They introduce not crops like kiwi fruit and got in to Deer farming.
With no subsidies to rely on the came up with new produce and ways of doing things.

The Irish farmers are not the problem they taking the French farmers subsidies.
The Cap was what de Gaul wanted where the original steel and coal community was started by the treaty of Rome.

Irish farmers pushing to stop subsidies is not going to change things. it is the big countries in the continent that will decide the issue.

Not sure the IFA have much choice when all the big counties are doing subsidies.
 

euroboy

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Jul 8, 2008
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The price of food has got too cheap. Farmers don't seem to have copped on that the real real reason that farm subsidies exist is to keep the price of food down to the general population.

While it is true that prices of food has fallen at retail level, the price paid to farmers at farm gate have also fallen. These prices cuts has not occured because of subsides, in any case, most subsidies are no longer linked to production. In fact, the protection accorded by the CAP has the effect of higher food prices than if we imported at the world price.

The main driving force for cheaper food prices has been retail power of large supermarkets and processors. When one considers that the farm-retail price spread has remained the same (obsencely high), farmers are in a very dire situation especially when it comes to dairy and beef.

The EC has published a report on the dairy sector, see link http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/markets/milk/report2009/annex_en.pdf

Farmers finanical situation is worsened by their own response to the high commodity prices of 2007-8 which has seen a glut of oversupply, further suppresses the prices they receive.


It is all about keeping the inflation rate down across the EU. If the food price doubled, workers would start demanding huge pay rises. Rowdy farmers are a lot easier to deal with than a hungry population. If food subsidies were abolished, food would find its own true market level.
What a load of rubbish. Food as a percentage of national income/household income for a developed country such as Ireland is about 10%. If we were to experience food inflation at the levels you mention, while it would impact the poor and those on welfare, society in general would cope.

We are not a third world country ready to riot because the price of rice doubles or even triples. We are at a higher stage of economic development, where food as a portion of income is not so important.

On your point about removing subsidies to allow the price of food to settle at its market value. That actually would have the effect of cutting prices. One of the effects of CAP protection is that consumers pay for the protection through higher prices. In addition to paying via their taxes.

Why don't Irish farmers realise that they are being taken for a ride by their own farm leaders. If the farm cuts are pushed through a lot of Irish farmers will have to get out of farming. They will have to sell their land at a lower cost than they thought it was worth. The farm leaders realise that this is going happen, but a lot of the larger farmers will take advantage of this situation by buying up the land at a lower cost.

A lot of small Irish farmers should start realising that the IFA leadership is no longer acting in the interest of the broad mass of Irish farming. They should start realising that a complete abolition of farm subsidies would be in the long term interest of Irish farming. They need to cotton on to this fact before it's too late for them.
While I agree with you that the farm lobby often doesnt represent the small farmer in a way the small farmers expect, cutting subsidies in total is not a path we should take. There is need for reform in how we distribute CAP payments(modulation, SFP caps etc).

However, cutting the SFP would have the effect of cutting land prices further since the payments are capitalised into the price of land and its rental price.

But yes, farmers do need to stand more on their own feet, its not in their interests to be so heavily dependent on direct payments. Irish farm incomes(net valued added across land, labour and capital incomes) is roughly 2-3bn a year. Now nearly 1/3 of that comes from the market(which is overestimated because of the CAP protection), while the remaining 2/3 comes from direct payments. This situation is not sustainable in the long run. The 2013 perspective will see farm payments cut dramtically in order to fund Eastern Europe agriculture but also to reorientate the nature of EU spending towards other policy sectors.


We need to develop an Irish model of agriculture which reverses this situation. the majority of farm incomes must come from the market(higher prices to reflect quality and cost of production) while direct payments must form the basis of promoting public goods of agricultural activity.
Irish agriculture will need to make hard ajustments which muwt include a reduction in the number of farmers, the absorption of small farm holdings into larger holding and the equalisation of SFP per hectare across the country, not to mention increased modualtion for larger and more effiencent farms(read profitable).

Farm payments made on the basis of correcting market failures, must in fact be targetted at correcting failures and not a cover for subsidies. Many of the McCarthy cuts for agriculture have identified very well such schemes in need of cutting.
 
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HarshBuzz

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Feb 28, 2008
Messages
11,935
In Cloughjordan a group of around 60 households have started a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme. Each household pays a weekly sub covering the cost of the farmers wages, the machinery, land etc.

In effect they each own a share of the farm, and in return get all their fresh produce (fruit and veg, milk, eggs, & meat occsionally). Farmer is guaranteed an income, and the members get to eat fresh organic food that they've seen growing the week before.
what a great idea - there is hope yet

I don't suppose you know if there are any more of these around? I'd be very interested in joining one if the opportunity arose
 

Harmonica

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Jul 2, 2009
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The world has chand a lot since CAP was introduced. Subsidising the production of meat just keeps the price high which makes it more attractive for Brazilans to cut down their forests. If prices were not kept high that incentive woudl eb renoved.

It is bordering on immoral or subsidise rich European farmers to prevent competition from the third world. The third worlddoes not make computer chips so agriculture is still a big industry there. If we don't buy their food how can they survive?
 
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