Further to my last, and to put paid to Herr Fischler's nonsense about farming in the UK here's more nails for the coffin..........

Ref Site :
http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/deprep/2001/ch302.htm


Chapter 3   -   MAJOR EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

Farm Incomes in the UK
3.3 The farming industry experienced another difficult year. Commodity prices were generally depressed and farm incomes fell by about 25% from the 1999 level. As the pig market was starting to recover from a prolonged trough, disease problems added to its difficulties. BSE concerns in other member states had a knock on effect in the UK. Heavy rains and flooding in the Autumn hit a number of areas and sectors.

-----------------------------------------------

Notice how MAFF never even mentioned the Foot and Mouth disaster in that thumb-nail analysis? That is despicable.   Note also the Chapter is headed, Major Events and Achievements - FMD 2001 was not a Major Event in their books then !

David Hunter was the Head of the Agricultural Group, and takes the blame I'm sure for this hellish oversight.

Good time to bury bad news was it David - what with all those "heavy rains and flooding" ? 



Ref Site :
http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p action.gettxt=gt&doc=SPEECH/03/534|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=

SPEECH/03/534
Dr. Franz FISCHLER

Member of the European Commission responsible for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries

Europe's Rural Areas An invaluable asset for us all - Opening Speech

Salzburg European Conference on Rural Development

Salzburg, 13 November 2003

Excerpts.............


I am particularly concerned by the fact that in a number of rural areas de-population continues to be an acute problem, linked to low birth and high mortality rates and to out-migration of young people.  Fortunately, there are also other rural areas where the population is growing, but sometimes at the cost of profound changes in the social fabric.

I am also concerned by what Professor Bryden has told us about the lack of access to public services, to higher education and to life long learning, about the lack of employment opportunities and, in more general terms, about a lower standard of living.

Our network of Central and East European Country experts has recently undertaken work for us highlighting that these problems will be accentuated after enlargement. In a number of rural regions, there are a larger number of children of school age compared to towns and cities. This is often accompanied by a flow of workers back from towns. Both trends put additional pressure on education and training systems. At the same time, the poverty gap is increasing in many rural areas. As the experts conclude, “off-farm employment and alternative income sources will become increasingly decisive for socio-economic well-being in rural areas”.

But while I am seriously concerned about these problems and difficulties, I also believe there are reasons to be encouraged...........

Take for instance the innovative projects involving employment of young people and the introduction of  Information Technology in rural areas in Finland. Take the integrated approaches at the farm level in the UK, involving a combination of nature conservation and environmentally friendly production of quality meat products. Or take the agro-tourism projects in Greece, involving traditional olive growing, farm accommodation and traditional cooking.

These are just 3 examples out of many from North to South in very different domains. The field trips organised with the help of the Austrian and German authorities later in the conference will give us a further taste of what rural development means in practice.

----------------------------------

Herr Fischler has obviously taken lessons from the ex-Iraqi Minister of Information !

The Fischler summation does not quite gel with what is actually happening here in the UK.

Nov 19 - 26 ~ 17,000 farm workers gave up last year
  FWi "Government statistics show 6,000 farmers and 11,000 labourers left their businesses in the 12 months up to the 2003 June census. The 4.6% drop in the workforce means nearly 85,000 have left farming since the Labour government took office in 1997..."
  As John Humphrys said in his recent article "... It is almost impossible to make a living from a small dairy farm. A few years ago 50 milking cows would produce a decent income. Now you need at least twice as many just to survive. There is no doubt that the rural economy would benefit from more small organic farms. So would the environment. So, ultimately, would the consumer....... Our farm animals would benefit, too.... it would help if the welfare of animals and the future of organic farming were seen as two elements in a bigger issue. I think it's called joined-up government.


Bryn