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  • k_r_johansen
    Re poor performing ag, remember if we assume that most of the subsidies go into landowners pockets, we must also assume that the actual business of farming is
    Message 1 of 43 , Nov 22, 2012
      Re poor performing ag, remember if we assume that most of the subsidies go into landowners pockets, we must also assume that the actual business of farming is being run on market conditions. There are plenty of farmers who in practice farm without subsidies, namely tenant farmers, who rents land often based on a price that is without subsidies (which is given straight to the landowner). OTOH there are plenty of owner-farmers who are not at par, but still get an income from their function as landowners, but a small return on their actual labour.

      Re UK land use. It is unlikely that what farming land there is in the UK would entirely be turned over to houses and forests upon abolihment of the CAP. First of all, prices as they are now are dependent on the fact that the UK and other high-cost countries are actually producing (the UK has some of the highest yields in the world for some crops), and you'd see a rise in prices that would again lead to an increased return on producing in the high-cost countries.
      It's already the case that building land receives the highest returns, ag land next, and woodlands/forests at the bottom. If subsidies were abolished, it would give a fall in returns on land from farming, but forestry would only be more viable on the very marginal lands. Whether to allocate more land to farming is a planning and political issue. For sure, you could absolutely devote more land to building, but it's not the case that planning liberalisation would make all land more valuable as building land, there would still be a steep gradient between attractive areas down to areas which wouldn't be built on even if the prices are at ag-level and legally buildable.

      Re spread-out living. I like living in the country-side, and well-off people like moving into the countryside after they have made an income in cities, but evidence from decades of pooring in money into rural areas has been that the bulk of people are moving towards central areas anyway. I don't think that would change significantly upon either the end of CAP or liberalisation of planning.


      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "John" <burns-john@...> wrote:
      > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "k_r_johansen" <kjetil.r.johansen@> 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,
      > Relating to the UK. I am sure many other EU countries are similar in some respects:
      > 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 probably
      > > good,
      > The French were heavily behind it. Mainly to keep the French rural lifestyle going.
      > > It's just that farming will and
      > > always will be, extremely competitive,
      > > at least when producing straight commodities.
      > Interestingly 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.
      > > but generally the CAP is just a subsidy to landownership.
      > Yep. I would get rid of it tomorrow.
    • Harry Pollard
      The point is, Scott, that the little fields of Britain cannot compete with the mass production of the US. Harry ********************** *The Alumni Group * *The
      Message 43 of 43 , Dec 1 1:38 PM
        The point is, Scott, that the little fields of Britain cannot compete with the mass production of the US.


        The Alumni Group 
        The Henry George School
        of Los Angeles
        Tujunga   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.

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