(What he doesn't say is oil seed rape is one
of the GM crops that Monsanto et al are trying to sell)
Private Eye - 16 May - Down
on the Farm by Muckspreader
driving through the countryside lately may have found it hard to miss that
annual reminder of the wondrous benefits of the European Union; the
splashes of garish yellow indicating land put down to oilseed rape.
year 750,000 acres of rape were grown in the UK to make vegetable oils and
cattle feed. Both the pollen and associated pesticides have been
widely blamed for causing allergic reactions in people and horses. By
the crop is so marginal it would be uneconomical for farmers to produce it
were they not showered by Brussels with 371 euros ( £239) for every "hectare"
they grow. This means that, for the privilege of last year paying our UK
farmers £76m to grow what economists call "an artificial crop", UK
taxpayers had to give 150m to Brussels in the first place, so that the rest
could be handed out to more deserving recipients in other EU countries -
such as the peach growers of Greece who receive tens of millions of euros a
year from EU taxpayers to bulldoze their unwanted (and probably
non-existent) peaches into the ground.
Another joy of rape is that
farmers are permitted to grow it on land for which, under EU "set-aside"
rules, they are otherwise paid £239 per hectare not to grow anything.
The purpose of set-aside, for which UK farmers were last year paid £150m to
take 1.5 million acres out of production, is to reduce the EU's agricultural
"Large" farmers must set aside more than a tenth of their land
(at a cost to UK taxpayers of £500 per hectare) to grow nothing in this way,
while for "small" farmers this is voluntary. And if you want to know
the difference between a "large farmer" and a "small farmer", the EU works
this out by a formula based on the area of land "needed to produce 92 tonnes
of cereals using the yield factor applicable to the payment rate"; so
that a "small farmer" is "one who claims on no more than 15.62 hectares,
that is 92 tonnes divided by a yield factor of 5.89 tonnes per
A farmer with set-aside land can thus make a double profit by
planting it with rape, so long as this is not used for food. Rape oil
can be used to make what is called "bio-fuel", loved by the greens (although
it takes more energy to make the fuel than the fuel itself generates).
To complete the logic, although the EU lays down that set-aside rape must
not be used for food, the by-products of turning it into fuel can be used
Anyone awed with admiration for the Einsteins of Brussels who
worked all this out, might also note the additional rules stemming from what
is known as the "Blair House oilseeds agreement", between the EU and the
USA. This laid down for the EU a "Maximum Guaranteed Area" for
oilseeds, covering 5,482,000 hectares. In addition "payments to
producers had to be cut by 1 percent for every 1 percent by which the area
of oilseeds receiving 'crop specific' aid payments exceed the MGA, less the
greater of 10 percent or the current percentage of compulsory
In the end all that matters is that this helps explain why,
every May, vast tracts of English countryside are covered with bilious
yellow, from a crop which farmers wouldn't dream of growing unless we all
handed over £500 per hectare to Brussels in the first place, just for the
joy of looking at it.