- --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "John" <burns-john@...> wrote:
>I disagree that agriculture is a poor performing industry. Obviously it feeds us quite well. I guess I have a bias since I come from a farming background, but the idea that farmers are not performing or progressing is false. But progress have come in spite of the CAP, not because.
> About right. Approx 50% of the EU budget is allocated to the Common Agricultural Policy. CAP is supporting a lifestyle of a very small minority of country dwellers in a poor performing industry, agriculture. In effect that is its prime function.
The intentions behind the CAP are probably good, and the intentions are supported by a rather large portion of the population, otherwise it wouldn't be there (farmer voters and their families are usually less than 5% of the population in Western Europe). People attach a lot of sentimental value to farming, and lots of people are just a couple of generations away from having been farmers themselves and will have a certain amount of sympathy for the cause.
It's just that farming will and always will be, extremely competitive, at least when producing straight commodities. However a small portion of the population, they are thousands of sellers competing against millions of sellers abroad. Add natural risks, and it's a pretty non-attractive business to be in compare with other jobs/investments.
When subsidies were enacted into full force half a century ago, it was probably good intentions, as they saw the returns to farming fall in comparison with other sectors. But the experience is that farmer incomes are still lower than other workers, and that a large portion of the subsidies are just capitalized into land rents, and tradeable quotas/subsidy rights, that would plummet in value if CAP was abolished. So it's pretty much pointless.
There are probably some support mechanisms that have external benefits, r&d, keeping hedgerows nice and tidy, some level of food security etc., but generally the CAP is just a subsidy to landownership.
- The point is, Scott, that the little fields of Britain cannot compete with the mass production of the US.Harry
********************The Alumni GroupThe Henry George Schoolof Los AngelesTujunga CA 90243(818) 352-4141********************
On Sat, Nov 24, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Scott Bergeson <scottb@...> wrote:
Quoting Harry Pollard on Sat, 24 Nov 2012 09:06:15 -0800:
if we import our bulk foods, farm land is given over to animals,
which provide instant food while crops are being started (not
to mention they improve fertility rather than use it up).
Importing meat and animal feed needn't be a huge strategic
concern, if you're willing, when besieged, to slaughter
most of the animals (preserving the meat, of course) and
switch to a primarily vegetarian diet.
As you know, the combine harvesters in the US probably
work all day in a field, then stop until next morning
when they continue harvesting in the same field.
Many of them have lights. Combines are a separate business
from farming. They migrate, following the harvest.