No one really enjoys uncertainty and this year farmer’s currently have a surfeit of it. The usual factors of weather, growth, conception and yields are currently joined by some new contenders; Brexit, the effect of WTO tariffs and subsidy withdrawal to name but three. (Heaven help us if Mr.Corbyn were to assume power, that would certainly be number 4.)
There is also a marked differential between the old and new. The former are natural phenomena, largely outside the control of humans, let alone farmers, whilst the latter are wholly of human creation and some might say borne out of needless stupidity.
However, the potential effects of both categories may be same. Either can decimate the farming profit and loss account. The key question appears to me to be ‘for how long’ are the man made uncertainties to last. Farming is a well capitalised industry and can absorb and survive most short term failures, that has always been the case.
But. It has always been the case that British (and European production) cannot viably compete with the US on a world market. That fact has always been recognised by way of commodity price support which has lately morphed into a reward for ‘good agricultural and environmental conditions’. Without such support, European farmers will struggle to survive, let alone compete.
Therefore the fear is currently that man has the ability to self harm to a far greater extent than mother nature has traditionally inflicted. Uncertainty or stupidity?