Critical Mass

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
We are a pilot (piloting standards that you have now scrapped, but that's by the by).
We are being bombarded by ELMS emails. And I do mean bombarded. My inbox is full of them, largely unread. Latest is a compulsory survey, which we are told will take 1 to 2 hours to complete. The email does helpfully say that you can pass it on to your agent to complete.
I recently asked you to study this document, to help you understand the composition of England's farms, you said that you would do so. If you have then you will understand just how many folks are farming single-handed or maybe with part time help from a spouse.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/666713/structure-june-eng-lessfavouredareas-13dec17.xls#:~:text=Less%20Favoured%20Areas%20(LFA)%20were,Disadvantaged%20Areas'%20(SDA).

The idea that this whole thing isn't biased against the smaller business would be laughable if it wasn't so serious. This whole thing is out of control. You have created a monster.
Didn't DEFRA say agents wouldn't be needed for SFI as it would be simple?
 
Yes, that's exactly what we've said and what we're aiming to do.

@delilah I've noted your feedback about email bombardment, and will look into that for you, but we do include in the pilot some activities that we ask you to do to help us learn about what's working and what isn't; that's what the pilot learning fee is there for. But that doesn't mean we should be placing excessive demands on your time, so this is useful feedback and I'll look into it to see how we can adjust and improve.
 

delilah

Member
we do include in the pilot some activities that we ask you to do to help us learn about what's working and what isn't; that's what the pilot learning fee is there for.

You will learn nothing from the pilots that you haven't been told, for free, by folks on here.

But that doesn't mean we should be placing excessive demands on your time, so this is useful feedback and I'll look into it to see how we can adjust and improve.

The administrative burden is the same for a 200 acre farm as it is for a 20,000 acre estate. It needs more than adjustment.
 

delilah

Member
I've been watching in awe over the weekend, seeing farmers post pictures online of the work they're doing to clear roads, trees, etc

The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get.
Most of the farmland in this parish is farmed by folks who are based outside the parish, 5 to 20 miles away. Which is, in no way, a criticism of them. They can be said to be the intelligent ones, the ones who have followed the advice and market signals over recent decades: Grow or go. What this does mean, however, is that they weren't the folks out clearing the roads. That was the little people. The people you are going to be taking all support away from. I pointed all of this out some time ago in the attached. Please, take heed.

edit: As asked in the attached:
Defra You like surveys. Here’s one for you to conduct. Of the 9000 rural parishes in England, how many now have no independent, full time farming business registered in them? Compared to, say, 30 years ago.
 

Attachments

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Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
The more I think about this, the more annoyed I get.
Most of the farmland in this parish is farmed by folks who are based outside the parish, 5 to 20 miles away. Which is, in no way, a criticism of them. They can be said to be the intelligent ones, the ones who have followed the advice and market signals over recent decades: Grow or go. What this does mean, however, is that they weren't the folks out clearing the roads. That was the little people. The people you are going to be taking all support away from. I pointed all of this out some time ago in the attached. Please, take heed.

edit: As asked in the attached:
Defra You like surveys. Here’s one for you to conduct. Of the 9000 rural parishes in England, how many now have no independent, full time farming business registered in them? Compared to, say, 30 years ago.

Apart from the NFU, who are always promoting a 'bigger the better', it is the smaller family farm that always seems to be the 'poster-boy' for everyone when selling the image of farm produce.
Yet everyone from Defra to dealers, Environment agency to supermarkets, have policies that actively discriminate against them.
 
You will learn nothing from the pilots that you haven't been told, for free, by folks on here.
I respectfully disagree with you on that @delilah. We have already learned a huge amount about, for example: how we can make the application process better (building on what we've learned from existing schemes as well, obviously); how the standards interact with each other; how the requirements of the standards work in practice.

We expect to learn a lot more as we go through the pilot, for example, we'll be seeing how farmers get on implementing the standards they've signed up to; how we can best manage the flexibility we've introduced for farmers to add more standards, land or levels of ambition each year; how controls / inspections can work in a more supportive way; and also testing some of the more novel aspects of the scheme such as seeing whether land management plans (which have been developed by farmers in our tests and trials) are a useful potential feature of the scheme, how the scheme will interact with local nature recovery, how capital items should work alongside the scheme and how farmers get on with delivering the standards.
 
I respectfully disagree with you on that @delilah. We have already learned a huge amount about, for example: how we can make the application process better (building on what we've learned from existing schemes as well, obviously); how the standards interact with each other; how the requirements of the standards work in practice.

We expect to learn a lot more as we go through the pilot, for example, we'll be seeing how farmers get on implementing the standards they've signed up to; how we can best manage the flexibility we've introduced for farmers to add more standards, land or levels of ambition each year; how controls / inspections can work in a more supportive way; and also testing some of the more novel aspects of the scheme such as seeing whether land management plans (which have been developed by farmers in our tests and trials) are a useful potential feature of the scheme, how the scheme will interact with local nature recovery, how capital items should work alongside the scheme and how farmers get on with delivering the standards.
keep it simple, KISS as they say, all these different plans, inspections, levels, capital items etc etc etc have most farmers lost and paying SAC to do it all for them costing more money, how do you plan to stop the companies selling these capital items from simply putting prices up? whoever invented area based payments was on the right track, everyone gets the same, if you want more you buy more acres
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
keep it simple, KISS as they say, all these different plans, inspections, levels, capital items etc etc etc have most farmers lost and paying SAC to do it all for them costing more money, how do you plan to stop the companies selling these capital items from simply putting prices up? whoever invented area based payments was on the right track, everyone gets the same, if you want more you buy more acres

That would just continue what has happened for decades.

The whole ethos of ELMS and sustainable farming would be better achieved by simply providing a premium for low/ no input produce.
 
That would just continue what has happened for decades.

The whole ethos of ELMS and sustainable farming would be better achieved by simply providing a premium for low/ no input produce.
That would just continue what has happened for decades.

whats that? slow the decline of family farms and offer protection against low price years and high input years such as this? the rise of the supermarkets has been the biggest problem in ag the last 30 years not subs
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
That would just continue what has happened for decades.

whats that? slow the decline of family farms and offer protection against low price years and high input years such as this? the rise of the supermarkets has been the biggest problem in ag the last 30 years not subs

The problem has been the market share being controlled by supermarkets, we are in a position that most farms produce is paid for at cost plus a few pence to keep them going.

This is what has killed small farms and caused intensive / factory farming.

A premium for anything sustainably produced would reverse this rot.

[Which is why Lord Sainsbury et al will make sure it doesn't happen]

Getting a viable return on less output would go along way to helping 'landscape recovery'.
 

delilah

Member
@Janet Hughes Defra

This tree came down over the kissing gate and onto the road. We knew full well that the landowner wouldn't be out until things had calmed down, so we felt obliged to at least clear the bit on the road.

Five days later and look at it. The time it took to wrap the red tape round it - which folks are ignoring and walking under - you could have cleared the tree. I passed the warden an hour ago, driving round drumming his public money fingers along to the music in his public money truck. Tbf he probably isn't allowed to clear the tree, he will have been instructed to secure the scene and get three quotes.

This is your vision for the English countryside as set out in ELMS. Transfer the money from the little people to that landowner and their ilk. To wrap everything in red tape and await three quotes before delivering public good.

eunice 9.jpg
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
@Janet Hughes Defra

This tree came down over the kissing gate and onto the road. We knew full well that the landowner wouldn't be out until things had calmed down, so we felt obliged to at least clear the bit on the road.

Five days later and look at it. The time it took to wrap the red tape round it - which folks are ignoring and walking under - you could have cleared the tree. I passed the warden an hour ago, driving round drumming his public money fingers along to the music in his public money truck. Tbf he probably isn't allowed to clear the tree, he will have been instructed to secure the scene and get three quotes.

This is your vision for the English countryside as set out in ELMS. Transfer the money from the little people to that landowner and their ilk. To wrap everything in red tape and await three quotes before delivering public good.

View attachment 1018706
it'll (countryside) will end up like the railways and roads, ie poor practical ,inapropriate very un cost effective maintenance by townie 'workers'( :unsure:) in nearly new looking clean hi vis jackets with strimmers and hand tools with the paint still on them , drawing huge relative wages for very little of consequence done.
 

delilah

Member
@Janet Hughes Defra
Looks like I did your Landscape Recovery partners a disservice. They didn't wait to get three quotes to clear the kissing gate, but cracked on and did it themselves. Sort of. Steamed up the hill in a convoy of £100k worth of kit, and in barely a morning cut the branches back to allow folks through. Didn't actually clear the tree, but tbf it was Thursday lunchtime by then. Practically the weekend. Didn't bend down to clear the demolished interpretation board from the verge either, though I guess that will be for a different department to deal with. Inexcusably, they have spent the week driving past an accident waiting to happen in the form of tree trunks rolled to the side of the road after the storm. 200 yards from their land, so not their problem. But it's ok. Seeing as neither Highways nor the quango were going to shift it, the little people have now been out.

And so it will have been all over England in the past week. To repeat the point made earlier in the thread: Remove £3Bn/yr from farmers, and £30Bn/yr will not buy you the 'public goods' you currently get for nothing as a fringe benefit of supporting the little people.

eunice 13.jpg


eunice 14.jpg


eunice 11.jpg


eunice 12.jpg
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Remove £3Bn/yr from farmers, and £30Bn/yr will not buy you the 'public goods' you currently get for nothing as a fringe benefit of supporting the little people.
A critical point, well made. (y)

I cleared one from a highway near us last Saturday, in 40 minutes on my own, with a chainsaw and the telehandler that would have cost Highways at least £800 to clear. No charge to anyone.

Highways had already been out to surround it with tape, cones and 2 "Police. SLOW" signs.....
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Think of All the miles of road hedges that are trimmed each year,in our part of the World one even or a couple of years growth and its a hazard for poor visibility at best and they would be impassable at worst after a few years.
I've not seen a highways utility tractor driver yet that can trim them like we do and even then they only take a couple of swipes at junctions etc.
 

delilah

Member
@Janet Hughes Defra Please spare a minute to read the below post from the LWA.

For 'peasant' read 'family farms'; it is only in the UK that we have allowed peasant to become a term of derision rather than pride.

Imagine how grateful, right now, the people of Ukraine are for their family farms, for their critical mass. A lesson for us all. Yet you are putting in place a system that will transfer the money from the little people to the corporates. It doesn't matter how many times you say "that is not our intention". That is what will happen. We keep being told that you are listening. You need to show us some concrete evidence of that.

 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Yes there is.
Show ELMS as it stands to any independent assessor, and they will tell you that it will get rid of the little people.
You are fully aware of this.
It is, therefore, the objective of ELMS to get rid of the little people, and will remain so until you overhaul it.
The answer appears to be to form farm clusters to access the funding that is available to larger land managers etc.

I'm working on a short presentation on this which I am happy to deliver if there is the demand to see it.
 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Please do Steve. Webinar or You Tube, maybe even on here.
It came about because I have a first year undergraduate who is ex finance/accounting (he's in his 50s), who put together a really brilliant talk for my "sustainable Agriculture" module, which explains it very clearly using case study examples.
It needs some tweaks and he hates presenting, so we'll look to put something professional together soon.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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