- --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "k_r_johansen" <kjetil.r.johansen@...> wrote:
>Relating to the UK. I am sure many other EU countries are similar in some respects:
> 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,
Far too much land is given over to agriculture, about 78%, which only accounts for about 2.5% of the UK economy. This poor performing over subsidised industry is absorbing land that could be better used economically in commerce and for much needed spacious higher quality homes for the population. Much of the land is paid to remain idle out of our taxes. The UK could actually abandon most of agriculture and import most of its food, as food is obtainable cheaper elsewhere.
50% of the EU budget is allocated to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). CAP is supporting a lifestyle of a very small minority of country dwellers in a poor performing industry. In effect that is its prime function.
The city of Sheffield, a one industry city of steel, was virtually killed by allowing imports of cheaper steel from abroad. This created great misery and distress to its large population. Yet agriculture is subsidised to the hilt having land allocated to it which clearly can be better utilised for the greater good of British society.
The justification for subsidising agriculture is that we need to eat. We also need steel and cars in our modern society, yet the auto and steel industries were allowed to fall away to cheaper competition from abroad, and especially the Far East. Should taxpayers money be propping up an economically small industry that consumes vast tracts of land that certainly could be better used? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
The overall agricultural subsidy is over £5 billion per year. This is £5 billion to an industry whose total turnover is only £15 billion per annum. Unbelievable. This implies huge inefficiency in the agricultural industry, about 40% on the £15 billion figure. Applied to the acres agriculture absorbs, and approximately 16 million acres are uneconomic. Apply real economics to farming and you theoretically free up 16 million acres, which is near 27% of the total UK land mass.
This is land that certainly could be put to better use for the population of the UK. Allowing the population to spread out and live amongst nature is highly desirable and simultaneously lowering land prices. This means lower house prices which the UK desperately needs. Second country homes could be within reach of much of the population, as in Scandinavia, creating large recreation and construction industries, and keeping the population in touch with the nature of their own country. In Germany the population have access to large forests which are heavily used at weekends. Forests and woods are ideal for recreation and absorb CO2 cleaning up the atmosphere. Much land could be turned over to public forests.
> The intentions behind the CAP are probablyThe French were heavily behind it. Mainly to keep the French rural lifestyle going.
> It's just that farming will andInterestingly Fred Harrison hit on Costa Rica in his book The Predator Culture, and then way they do it. They found that more labour intensive small holdings were very efficient. The big corporate farms look at yield per acre. Smallholders look at it differently. They could also respond to the market better.
> always will be, extremely competitive,
> at least when producing straight commodities.
> but generally the CAP is just a subsidy to landownership.Yep. I would get rid of it tomorrow.
- 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.