Future of Farming Worshipful Company of Farmers

Pan mixer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Near Colchester
Dieter Helm, love him or question him, has had a huge influence on the Environment Bill that will be altering the lives of those involved in Agriculture UK probably more than the Agriculture Act when it is passed into law.

The idea of what British Agriculture and the countryside and all those who own, work and enjoy it will be very different by 2050.

A long listen, perhaps cut out the intro (sorry Master) but listen to the questions at the end too.

Thought provoking, worrying and slightly comforting.

No idea if anyone else has posted this, sorry if they have. This is important though I feel.

 

D14

Member
Dieter Helm, love him or question him, has had a huge influence on the Environment Bill that will be altering the lives of those involved in Agriculture UK probably more than the Agriculture Act when it is passed into law.

The idea of what British Agriculture and the countryside and all those who own, work and enjoy it will be very different by 2050.

A long listen, perhaps cut out the intro (sorry Master) but listen to the questions at the end too.

Thought provoking, worrying and slightly comforting.

No idea if anyone else has posted this, sorry if they have. This is important though I feel.


If you've watched it could you summarise it as its to long to sit through at the moment.
 

Pan mixer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Near Colchester
If you've watched it could you summarise it as its to long to sit through at the moment.
Long summary necessary really;

He tries to imagine what the farming will look like in 2050 - more tech, stuff we can't imagine, robotics, gene editing etc.

He predicts a change to the fauna with far less insects - we have all noticed that there are less bugs about nowadays than in the 70's say.

He predicts that much more human and animal protein feed will be produced by farmed insects.

More food will be produced from less land due to technology - vertical farming and so on.

As well as many other things.

Now is a pivotal moment for UK Ag - like 1947 and 1973.

Public money for public good doesn't necessarily mean food production as this is 'Public Interest'

Crucially there should be a carbon border tax when food is imported which would mean local is good.

The arguement that war would starve the population is no longer valid as future wars would all be done by messing up the tech and we would starve from that before U boats or whatever took out the ships.

Sequestering carbon will be a large income source for farms. Red diesel will go, polluters will have to pay - not get a subsidy to put their illegal discharge right like now on farms.

Supply chains have rcently learned that 'Just in Time' has to be replaced by 'Just in Case'

He doesn't want SFI to replace the Pillar 1 payments that came under the CAP and says that they may be a bit like SFP but with huge amounts of cross compliance.

Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger.
 

delilah

Member
There are two - interconnected - things that Dieter Helm and his ilk fail to understand.

1) There is nothing wrong our side of the farm gate. If you want to understand where the environmental damage is being caused, then you look at the food chain and the ways in which increases in co2 emissions over the last 50 years have tracked the changes that have taken place in the chain.

2) All meaningful change is demand driven. If you do see the need for farming to change, then you achieve that by changing the signals from the marketplace, not by hitting farmers with a big stick.

Of course, so long as farmers via their representative bodies keeps saying "it's our fault, please, hit me" then that is what will happen.
 

delilah

Member
I was given his book, by someone who mistakenly thought I would like to read about how farming needs to change. I would imagine its the same guff.
 

Muck Spreader

Member
Location
Limousin
There are two - interconnected - things that Dieter Helm and his ilk fail to understand.

1) There is nothing wrong our side of the farm gate. If you want to understand where the environmental damage is being caused, then you look at the food chain and the ways in which increases in co2 emissions over the last 50 years have tracked the changes that have taken place in the chain.

2) All meaningful change is demand driven. If you do see the need for farming to change, then you achieve that by changing the signals from the marketplace, not by hitting farmers with a big stick.

Of course, so long as farmers via their representative bodies keeps saying "it's our fault, please, hit me" then that is what will happen.
There is a risk that meaningful change will happen to farming, but for all the wrong reasons. But I wouldn't be so bold as to say there is nothing wrong on our side of the gate. The drive to industrialise agriculture around the globe has now allowed many organisations and lobby groups with their own vested interests unprecedented opportunity to be in the driving seat of this meaningful change, that is what we will now be expected to accommodate. :(
 

Pan mixer

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Near Colchester
There is a risk that meaningful change will happen to farming, but for all the wrong reasons. But I wouldn't be so bold as to say there is nothing wrong on our side of the gate. The drive to industrialise agriculture around the globe has now allowed many organisations and lobby groups with their own vested interests unprecedented opportunity to be in the driving seat of this meaningful change, that is what we will now be expected to accommodate. :(
I think that you are right. I also thing that the EU will be coming to some sort of similar conclusions, whether or not they can get them past the strong rural lobby there or not I wouldn't like to predict.
 

egbert

Member
I struggle with him at many levels.

I note, 16 minutes in, he's insistent that the bio-diversity and natural capital is what farming and farms are all about.

but later - apparently- as my eyes have glazed over already, he's talking about vertical farming. where the eff is the natural capital in that?
If it works, why would we care for NC anyway?

i'm happy to look forward, and I can see that we need to move away from - talking mainly cropping here- N inputs derived from fossil fuels - and that could be forced on us quicker than we imagined, and we should be looking at pesticides and herbicides that act in a different way.
 

D14

Member
Long summary necessary really;

He tries to imagine what the farming will look like in 2050 - more tech, stuff we can't imagine, robotics, gene editing etc.

He predicts a change to the fauna with far less insects - we have all noticed that there are less bugs about nowadays than in the 70's say.

He predicts that much more human and animal protein feed will be produced by farmed insects.

More food will be produced from less land due to technology - vertical farming and so on.

As well as many other things.

Now is a pivotal moment for UK Ag - like 1947 and 1973.

Public money for public good doesn't necessarily mean food production as this is 'Public Interest'

Crucially there should be a carbon border tax when food is imported which would mean local is good.

The arguement that war would starve the population is no longer valid as future wars would all be done by messing up the tech and we would starve from that before U boats or whatever took out the ships.

Sequestering carbon will be a large income source for farms. Red diesel will go, polluters will have to pay - not get a subsidy to put their illegal discharge right like now on farms.

Supply chains have rcently learned that 'Just in Time' has to be replaced by 'Just in Case'

He doesn't want SFI to replace the Pillar 1 payments that came under the CAP and says that they may be a bit like SFP but with huge amounts of cross compliance.

Don't shoot me, I am only the messenger.
Sounds totally logical really.
 

D14

Member
There are two - interconnected - things that Dieter Helm and his ilk fail to understand.

1) There is nothing wrong our side of the farm gate. If you want to understand where the environmental damage is being caused, then you look at the food chain and the ways in which increases in co2 emissions over the last 50 years have tracked the changes that have taken place in the chain.

2) All meaningful change is demand driven. If you do see the need for farming to change, then you achieve that by changing the signals from the marketplace, not by hitting farmers with a big stick.

Of course, so long as farmers via their representative bodies keeps saying "it's our fault, please, hit me" then that is what will happen.

Theres a lot wrong our side of the gate due to reliance on inorganic fertiliser and chemicals. Without them we can't farm as we are doing. Without them yields fall by 75% and we become more labour intensive and we burn more fuel to grow the crops due to excessive cultivation required prior to planting and then regular hoeing after planting. Crops then take more sorting out in store and need cleaning to get the good stuff that can be used for food production.
 

Chris F

Staff Member
Media
Location
Hammerwich
Theres a lot wrong our side of the gate due to reliance on inorganic fertiliser and chemicals. Without them we can't farm as we are doing. Without them yields fall by 75% and we become more labour intensive and we burn more fuel to grow the crops due to excessive cultivation required prior to planting and then regular hoeing after planting. Crops then take more sorting out in store and need cleaning to get the good stuff that can be used for food production.

But that could all be sorted by going back to the older ratio of farmers to eaters. With that though some a lot of cost. Cost the government don't want. Its a tough problem to fix/balance. I've read his book and the above seems a rehash of it.

The NFU seem to hate him, which always quite endears him to me. Not that I have met him for more than 5 minutes.
 

delilah

Member
Theres a lot wrong our side of the gate due to reliance on inorganic fertiliser and chemicals. Without them we can't farm as we are doing. Without them yields fall by 75% and we become more labour intensive and we burn more fuel to grow the crops due to excessive cultivation required prior to planting and then regular hoeing after planting. Crops then take more sorting out in store and need cleaning to get the good stuff that can be used for food production.

Any change made to UK ag, that results in a litre less of milk or a kilo less of grain being produced, will result in a net increase in UK GHG emissions. On that basis, there is nothing wrong our side of the farm gate. Tesco's freezers burn more electricity than does all of UK ag.
 

delilah

Member
Oops, you seem to have dropped in that erroneous claim again. ;)

Always pleased when you object, gives me an opportunity to spread the word. We've done this before, you never did apologize for misquoting me the last time. It's not erroneous, the references are on the attached.
 

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