DEFRA needs to listen on growing food

Janet Hughes of DEFRA gave a scary interview to Farming Today on Thursday 1 April. She spoke as an enthusiast for the new system of farm financial support which she is designing and directing. She did not once mention food growing as important or worthy of support. When asked about food growing she expressed an unsubstantiated hope there would be no fall in food growing as a result yet identified a number of schemes designed to reduce the area given over to food production and a number of favoured ways of farming likely to cut output.

Why wasn’t a Minister giving the interview? Why aren’t Ministers keeping their promises to Parliament to boost food production? UK farming has to compete with many global food producers working in countries that do subsidise farming to achieve more output. I will be taking this up with Ministers.

I am pleased to see the supermarkets replying to my questions on how they can do more to promote UK food and farming. Their own surveys confirm that more U.K. customers want to buy British. The strong support for local businesses and farmers markets underlines this. All can do more. We do not want to wild all our land but to drive more productive agriculture which can also create a beautiful landscape.

There is huge scope to direct grant and subsidy to help farmers raise their productivity extend their growing season through helpful investment.

168 Comments

  1. David Peddy
    April 3, 2021

    Keep plugging away Sir JR

    1. Hope
      April 3, 2021

      JR, article in con woman last week highlighted, again, how defra is rogue to brexit and wants UK to be dependent on EU for food security. Useless Ustice needs to be sacked and a minister appointed to take control to prevent reliance on EU. Vaccines have shown EU is not our friends at all. EU has shown hostility and acts of aggression towards our nation. Wake up.

      Johnson still incoherent about lockdown, vaccines, passports etc. He is a scattered brained complete horror show.

      1. Timaction
        April 3, 2021

        ……and we need to be energy independent. Get on with it. Totally useless Government in every area. Crime and disorder, education, taxation, legal and illegal immigration, Health, Brexit ( Fishing and Northern Ireland), weak weak weak.

      2. Hope
        April 3, 2021

        I was so proud to learn the military going carbon neutral and having no eyes in our air space for two years. 3 aircraft being able to do the work of five- somehow. It made me feel so safe knowing Russia, China and others would understand and be sympathetic to Johnson’s green woke identity defence review. It is not as if Russia and China are not taking advantage of the west’s carbon neutrality in industry, jobs and wealth is it! Russia rubbing its hands providing 52% of Germany gas and more under new gas line, while providing UK 82% of its coal when the country has 300 years supply! China showed how helpful it was sharing Chinese virus to the west. What action was taken? Same for treaty breach over Hong Kong, slave labour etc etc. China colonising the world should worry the west, but no, the west helps its aims!!

        Wallace should hang is head in shame and resign to even be associated with the security/defence review.

    2. MiC
      April 3, 2021

      He asked the question as to why ministers aren’t giving interviews.

      The answer is quite simple. It is because they will not accept responsibility for anything whatsoever – entirely along the grain of the PM’s and his government’s general approach.

      No, they have very effectively outsourced blame for everything, but want to take the credit for things that they haven’t organised, like the vaccination of millions by the NHS.

      I’m disappointed by the street party in Cardiff, by its litter and its irresponsibility, but why should the young think that they owe anyone anything at all in Tory Britain?

      They have been stripped of their citizenship of twenty-seven other countries, and the one in which they are now constrained to reside has been turned into a moral, social, and occupational wasteland by the brexit government and by its appeals to garner the votes of the very worst amongst the population by any means, however underhand or cynical.

      1. Fred.H
        April 3, 2021

        any old excuse will do, eh Martin.

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        April 3, 2021

        “but why should the young think that they owe anyone anything at all in Tory Britain?”

        The same young who lecture us on the environment ? They *owe* us the symbolism of practising what they preach and such behaviour added to the general malaise that led us to Brexit.

        We haven’t stripped them of the right to live in the EU. They can still do so with a bit of extra effort but now the EU is protected from their disgusting habits.

        One of my hobbies is litter picking. It calms my anger at the problem but anyone who drops litter deliberately cannot be my friend.

        1. MiC
          April 3, 2021

          The young haven’t had a very good example as to being law-abiding set by this government and by its hangers-on, have they?

          They brazenly flaunt the fact, to the cheers of their – mainly old – degenerate admirers.

          1. Fred.H
            April 3, 2021

            especially in Cardiff.

          2. M Davis
            April 3, 2021

            What on earth has your reply to do with dropping litter? Dropping litter by anyone is beyond contempt and they should be jailed for it, in my opinion, no ifs, no buts! It should be drummed into them in schools but they are too busy teaching them about sex to even be bothered!

      3. NickC
        April 3, 2021

        Martin, The UK government did organsise vaccines by early subsidy and ordering of the Oxford/A-Z vaccine both in this country and in the EU, and early ordering of the Pfizer version. This government can therefore legitimately claim credit for the vaccination effort. It would be more accurate to say tht NHS management abdicated responsibility.

        No one has been “stripped of their citizenship of twenty-seven other countries”. The EU conferred EU citizenship (not citizenship of France, or Italy, or the other sub-states) by stealing the right of the individual sub-states to decide for themselves who to let in. Unfettered immigration was one of the main issues in the Referendum – did you miss it?

      4. michael mcgrath
        April 3, 2021

        Martin….they are in Labour Wales

    3. M Davis
      April 3, 2021

      Thank you, Sir John!

  2. Ian Wragg
    April 3, 2021

    Defra is staffed by EU clones.
    They have no interest in reducing imports of food, just rewilding this green and pleasant land..
    It’s the same syndrome as carbon zero, send us back to the dark ages in this futile quest to reduce CO2.
    I bet the person talking was another PPE graduate.
    When will Boris get a grip.

    1. Hope
      April 3, 2021

      Ian,
      EU environment policy strictly followed by defra and govt. This caused flooding and also in contrast shortage of water supply through not being allowed to build reservoirs. Johnson signed up to continuing it under level playing field!!

      JR, forgot to mention the level playing field, ie follow EU rules forever!

    2. SM
      April 3, 2021

      Ian – a quick check uncovered Ms Hughes’ tertiary education to have been in Psychology, English and Business Administration. Her skills apparently lie in management and organisation (both of which are, of course, necessary in any venture), but until moving to DEFRA she appears to have had no connection with agriculture in any form.

      1. Fred.H
        April 3, 2021

        but she probably coos ‘oh lovely’ at the sight of newborn lambs.

    3. hefner
      April 3, 2021

      A quick look at linkedin (if ever you had been able to access it) would have shown you wrong.

      1. forthurst
        April 3, 2021

        SM is totally correct. According to her linkedin record, she has been with Defra for 2 years and 4 months since Jan 2019 when she was part time for 6 months. Apart from that her acquisition of green fingers relates to her experience as an ‘allotmenteer’. She is what JR refers to as a ‘generalist’ which in his parlance is not a pejorative term.

    4. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2021

      Indeed & cheap energy is vital to be competitive in much of food production. Does anyone in government know anything about farming, market gardening, engineering, energy, real economics, science, manufacturing, transport, climate, CO2 plant food … it seems not.

      1. Sakara Gold
        April 3, 2021

        There is no cheaper energy currently available to the UK than solar and wind, as you are well aware. Why do you persist in your “greeencrap” nonsense when the government has analysed the situation and decided the best way forward is to remove carbon-fuelled vehicles from our roads and give us clean air to breathe?

        1. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2021

          If you think solar and wind are cheap you are totally deluded. Cheap after the massive capital costs, subsidies and market rigging perhaps. Why would this be needed if they were cheap? Plus they intermittent energy and not on demand so worth far less too.

          1. Sakara Gold
            April 3, 2021

            Sophistry. Check the facts. The UK’s current operational wind capacity is ~13.6GW – providing a boost to our net zero and green recovery ambitions – and is projected to reach 25GW by 2030. Wind power contributed 24.8% of UK electricity supplied in 2020 – about 54.5% of the total electricity supply coming from non-fossil fuel sources.

            In August 2020 wind power – in which we lead the world in installed capacity – provided ~ 60% per cent of the electricity used.

            Fortunately, the international investors who have financed this with billions of their money understand the economics and do not believe the crap that you repeatedly post.

        2. NickC
          April 3, 2021

          Sakara, You (and the CAGW believers) coveniently forget to add in the cost of the necessary back-up for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind isn’t blowing to the cost of installing and running Solar and Wind.

          The cheapest dispatchable electricity generation is by coal, hence why Germany, India, China, and Africa are installing such a lot of it. However Coal is polluting compared to Gas, so the cheapest, cleanest dispatchable method is gas fired CCGT.

          1. Sakara Gold
            April 3, 2021

            Rubbish. It’s totally irrelevant – like much of what you post – because we will always require baseload capacity provided by new nuclear or the interconnectors. What the rest of the world will do eventually is catch up. Coal is already being phased out in India and China will increase renewables dramatically in the next 5 year plan.

          2. NickC
            April 4, 2021

            Sakara, It’s called “baseload” because it can’t readily be turned on and off. Nuclear cannot be used to cope with the irregularity of the wind, and your claim it can displays your ignorance. On a still cold winter evening with no sun and no wind where are you going to find 20GW? Those extra CO2 emitting CCGT plants the government isn’t building with magic money you don’t account for? Or relying on more interconnectors (at further cost) from the EU? If the latter, we might as well rejoin the EU now. But then that’s the plan all along, isn’t it?

        3. Philip P.
          April 3, 2021

          Why does Lifelogic persist? I think the answer, Sakara Gold, is because Lifelogic has researched it, whereas you clearly haven’t. Starting with what happened thanks to reliance on wind power in Texas recently.

          ‘The government has analysed the situation’! Yes, if you mean the government has analysed the politico-media benefits of caving in to well-financed lobbies and the media punditry. Johnson may be able to analyse a Latin verb, but not much else.

        4. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2021

          Sorry Sakara G, but you are just totally wrong. Yes if you rig the market and subsidise heavily you will find investors who are happy to farm the grants and UK tax payer’s enforced largess. This does not make it remotely sensible. People just get very expensive energy and higher tax bills. Worldwide the energy use by people that comes from solar and wind is less than 1% of total energy. US energy prices are often half of the UKs. Just do the sums, allow for capital costs and the need for back up supply. It makes no sense in economic terms (indeed it does massive damage and kills thousands of jobs) nor even in CO2 terms (not that CO2 is really a problem anyway).

      2. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2021

        The BBC and Guardian seemed very excited about “the warmest March day in 53 years” or to put it more sensibly:- the hottest day in March 2021 was colder (by 1.1 degree C) than the hottest March day in March 68, well before most of the atmospheric CO2 concentration increases occurred. Most of the rest of March was rather cold.

        Reply How about snow at Easter as forecast?

        1. Lifelogic
          April 3, 2021

          Indeed.

          The worlds longest running recorded temperature (Central England Temperature, CET) has FALLEN this year by around -0.5C compared to 2020. This despite the increasing atmospheric CO2 since 2020.

          1. Sakara Gold
            April 3, 2021

            Rubbish. Find a chart of the world’s temperature against atmospheric CO2 since the industrial revolution. Your 0.2% becomes a miniscule blip

          2. NickC
            April 4, 2021

            Sakara, Correlation does not imply causation.

        2. Fedupsoutherner
          April 3, 2021

          Reply to reply. John, I don’t see what Easter has to do with it. Easter falls in March or April but the met office say snow in April is not as unusual as people think.
          https://blog.metoffice.gov.uk/2016/04/27/snow-in-late-april-more-common-than-you-may-think/
          Why is every weather event now put down to climate change? It’s ridiculous.

          1. Fred.H
            April 3, 2021

            It doesn’t matter if an unusual event happens every 50 years. That ‘unusual ‘ event is pretty regular- all part of the cycle of Earth cooling/heating up – volcanic activity – sunspots…..blah blah.
            Climate change? – – in your dreams.
            Coal fired power stations, deforestation, vehicle exhaust noxious gasses – now thats a human comfort planet destruction matter.

          2. Lifelogic
            April 3, 2021

            Why is every weather event now put down to climate change? Because it is the new religion. An excuse for ever more taxes, interference and government controls.

        3. Richard1
          April 3, 2021

          Ms Greta Thunberg has turned 18. This means she is an adult and can now be requested to enter into debate like any other adult who asserts something absurd (in her case that humanity faces imminent extinction due to global warming). Expect the green blob to find another child to be it’s public voice, who can also be patted on the head and not subject to questioning or contradiction.

        4. glen cullen
          April 3, 2021

          correct – climate change is indeed a farce

          1. Lifelogic
            April 3, 2021

            Alas not just an amusing farce alas, the idiotic government response to the “problem” it is hugely damaging to the economy and destroys jobs and lives.

        5. Ian Wragg
          April 3, 2021

          1947, my mother married April 15th and there was snow in Derbyshire.
          Must be due to that pesky climate change . Not.

          1. Fedupsoutherner
            April 3, 2021

            Yes and all the motor cars and jumbo jets.

    5. Peter
      April 3, 2021

      Ian Wragg,

      Are you Lifelogic in disguise?

      1. Ian Wragg
        April 3, 2021

        No but I agree with much he says.
        I spent most of my working life in the power industry and can assure you wind and solar can’t and won’t exist without massive subsidies.

    6. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2021

      Nearly she read Psychology and English at Leeds it seems. But is an allotmenteer it seems.

      1. Peter
        April 3, 2021

        John Humphrys :-

        After your specialised round on ‘the universities, studies and examination results of British politicians’, Mr. Lifelogic , you have scored 21 points and NO passes.

    7. Andy
      April 3, 2021

      Nobody is forcing you to buy imported food. You can pay more to buy British if you like. But, like most Brexiteers, you probably don’t.

      1. Fred.H
        April 3, 2021

        another survey you just invented?

      2. No Longer Anonymous
        April 3, 2021

        Never had an issue with global trade and goods – I just didn’t see why our country had to subsume itself into a political bloc to do it.

        1. John Hatfield
          April 3, 2021

          +1

      3. Fedupsoutherner
        April 3, 2021

        I buy British and don’t find it any more expensive. You just have to look. Indeed, had an event to celebrate this weekend and bought some English sparkling wine. It was less than Champagne and equally as good. In fact I think it tasted better as it wasn’t from France.

      4. Long
        April 3, 2021

        It never ceases to amaze me how much you claim to know about the behaviour and beliefs of more than 17.4 m people. Incredible arrogance.

      5. NickC
        April 3, 2021

        Andy, Is your fake survey of Leaves’ food buying habits along the same lines as your belief we can run most of our transport on low power toasters, kettles and fridges?

      6. Ian Wragg
        April 3, 2021

        I would love to eat Welsh lamb but am unable to find d it anywhere.
        Yes way the Welsh Hill farmers went on about Brexit ruining them, perhaps they should start to tap the English Market.

    8. formula57
      April 3, 2021

      Re. “I bet the person talking was another PPE graduate.” – it amazes me, given the evidence complied in the Comments here, that the security services do not annually get the PPE pass lists from that thatched roof university and place those named on some prescribed list of n’er-do-wells for use by Government and others in need of protection.

  3. Javelin
    April 3, 2021

    Labour’s Identity Card Act was defeated in 2005 because the identity cards introduced during the war were only removed, seven years later, after the Government was taken to court in 1952. Interestingly the war time National ID Register became the National Health Register and is still with us today. Ironically the same database the court said was illegal to use for identity cards is exactly the same database being proposed to set up identity cards today, but are called covid passports rather than identity cards.

    My legal intuition tells me that the data in the NHS database has already been deemed illegal to use for public identity purposes and that the legal provenience of this data means it still has a court order preventing it from being used for public identity purposes.

    1. Hope
      April 3, 2021

      Read Johnson’s article in 16 years ago about ID cards and now in complete contrast his insistence to have them!

      People need to realise these passports will have all your medical data on them for some bouncer to read to let you in a pub!! Johnson has lost the plot to SAGE socialists.

      Who wants to share all their medical records with everyone. Bad enough census wanted medical information, which everyone should have refused to provide, even though it is shown census records from hundreds of years ago are redacted for those deemed feeble minded!

      1. NickC
        April 3, 2021

        Excellent analysis in today’s Telegraph suggesting the government manipulated the public and deliberately fostered unnecessary fear to gain acceptance for its chinavirus restrictions. The article includes evidence and accusations by psychologists and others. And, of course, once fear became endemic, all the paraphernalia of an authoritarian state became that much easier to impose.

      2. Lonj
        April 4, 2021

        It’s strange how women assert the right to determine what happens to their body when it comes to abortion yet we are being denied this right when it comes to vaccination for a virus that 99% survive.

    2. beresford
      April 3, 2021

      The Government are desperate to bring in social credit passports as agreed with the WEF, and don’t want to be the first member to ‘drop the ball’. It is reported that their latest ruse is to promise that the passports will only be used for a year. So much for ‘data and not dates’. Another wheeze is the suggestion that passport holders will be allowed to return to the country carrying new strains of the virus without normal precautionary measures. So much for ‘following the science’. Don’t be fooled JR, this is about much more than a virus.

      1. a-tracy
        April 3, 2021

        Everyone coming back into the U.K. should be given a test at the arrivals airport and a home kit to do one week later, and asked to keep their contacts limited until that second test shows up clear so as not to infect family and friends.

        1. jerry
          April 3, 2021

          @a-tracy; Look, if we can’t even trust the average person to obey a speed limit what chance obeying self isolation, did you not see the recent research that showed most people would not bother to self isolate if they think they might have Covid 19 – I suppose they could be give a choice, isolation at their own expense at a govt hotel or a GPS ankle tag, at least that way T&T would know were they are, but they would still not know if they are breaking the curfew with regards meeting others.

    3. jerry
      April 3, 2021

      @Javelin; Your legal intuition tells you wrong, I fear. Wasn’t it the physical ID card and the need to carry it that was found illegal in 1952, not a database that uses a alphanumerical code to ID each adult citizen, and as any “Covid Passport” will be voluntary, and only required to enter certain enclosed areas, there will be nothing illegal, hence why govt is stylising them as Passports.

      1. SecretPeople
        April 3, 2021

        What is this unique ID held in the database? An NHS number or a NINO?

        “It is important to note that a NINO is not proof of identity, and should not be relied on by employers as proof that someone has the right to work in the UK.”
        And the same could be said of the NHS number.

        If we were going to start using digital passports or ID the starting point ought to be back-to-basics rigorous verification of identity – a check that the holder is who they claim to be.

        1. a-tracy
          April 3, 2021

          “Advisers from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have raised fresh concerns over Covid vaccine uptake among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities (BAME) as research showed up to 72% of black people said they were unlikely to have the jab.” Guardian, trust is a big issue researchers say? That is a lot of people without Covid passports that will claim discrimination.

          Who checks if the bame people not going for the jab are in the U.K.? They should sign to say they refuse the offered jab so that there is no blowback in the future saying they weren’t offered one, or they didn’t understand they were supposed to get it and then sue the government for not making it clear to them. This is how things seem to work and just not turning up is not good enough. GPs Surgeries should earn their annual fee per patient by seeing everyone on their list at least once this year to do an MOT and give advice on the jab and get the refusal note signed.

      2. NickC
        April 3, 2021

        Jerry, In the 1952 judgment, Lord Chief Justice Goddard said the 1939 Registration Act was “never passed for the purposes for which it is now apparently being used” and that using the law in this way “tends to turn law-abiding subjects into lawbreakers (…) such action tends to make the people resentful of the acts of the police.” Such invalidation of the use of the 1939 Register (the database) in the 1952 prosecution brought about the demise of the (paper) ID cards, not the other way round.

        1. jerry
          April 3, 2021

          @NickC; Isn’t that what I said?!

          1. NickC
            April 4, 2021

            No, it’s the opposite Jerry.

          2. jerry
            April 4, 2021

            @NickC; I fear you have miss understood the Lord Chief Justice Goddard.

            It was the need to carry, or produce within 48 hours, your ID card outside a time of emergency (war) that was found wanting [1], but not illegal, nor the creation or use of a database that held information akin to that which would have been asked in a Census, the database created by the “National Registration Day” on 29 September 1939 was never found to be illegal, as Javelin claimed.

            Willcock v. Muckle appears a rather silly and contrived case, to take to appeal at least, in the circumstances the police had every right to ask for ID, wartime ID card or not!

            [1] hence the last part of Lord Chief Justice Goddard remarks;

            [talking about the physical ID card] “except where there is a real reason for demanding sight of the registration card”

      3. anon
        April 4, 2021

        If the virus is dangerous the borders should be closed.

        Meaning no dinghy arrivals. Meaning no kneeling for special public demonstrations or gatherings.
        All private jets should be grounded/moored.
        All border movements need to be taxed to meet the costs of the stricter controls.
        All freight should be switched to container delivery to RORO picked up by domestic operators on each side of borders.
        All policies should be directed towards self-reliance and resillience of our supply chains.

        Ireland needs to be asked to make some decisions. NI needs a referendum to decide if they want to remain in the UK. Ireland needs to be asked if they want to accept NI? Remaining in the EU means the common travel area must end. Maybe our totalitarian remainer establishment already knows the answers.

        Lets get those answers

  4. DOM
    April 3, 2021

    DEFRA is another Labour body set up under scum Blair to promote the interests of the EU and ensure that UK food production was replaced by imported food products from primarily the EU. It was Blair’s policy of ensuring the EU’s grip over the UK was tightened in various areas of life.

    DEFRA still remains to this day promoting its pro-EU agenda, pro-climate change bollocks and still packed no doubt with Eurocrats dedicated to undermining the UK’s agricultural sector to force reliance on food imports from EU nations

    Not one one Tory MP ever calls for reform of Labour’s client State. You’re all responsible for what we are seeing, each and every one of you

    Everywhere It’s the same. New Labour’s entire system of government still remains in place, all of it. That’s the product of a lazy Tory party dedicated to itself rather than destroying the bureaucratic and political machine created by Gramscification of the British State

    If the Labour ever achieve office again they will do what the scum are now doing in the US, creating a system of government that will it make it almost impossible to reform, penetrate and overturn

    The downing of Thatcher was indeed one of history’s turning points in British and western political history and spelt the end of a true democracy both here and in the US

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 3, 2021

      Dom, talking of the USA I see Meghan’s biographer reckons she could be the next President. Then we will all need God on our side!!

      1. NickC
        April 3, 2021

        Fedup, That would be interesting for the colonialists in the USA wouldn’t it – to be ruled by a member of the British Royal Family?

    2. Walt
      April 3, 2021

      Thank you, Dom, for your forthrightness; and thank you, site moderators, for allowing it.

      One question please: what is Gramscification?

      1. Skylark
        April 3, 2021

        Antonio Francesco Gramsci an Italian Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician who wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy.

        1. Walt
          April 4, 2021

          Thank you, Skylark.

      2. hefner
        April 3, 2021

        Gramscification: That’s what some hot heads think is happening: the destruction of the Judeo/Christian heritage from within the institutions of a given country. Yuk, the worm in the apple.
        These ‘thinkers’ put any gay-related question, any improvement of women’s conditions, any call for (some shades of) more racial equality, any potential call for a (slightly) more equal society … as a sign of a Woke Fascist/Communist slow-burning revolution (as in the frog being slowly boiled alive).
        These people (usually) are not dangerous, but it seems they tend to show up more and more frequently, specially after one of them had been seen for a while at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

        Have you not yet found the knife-wielding Commies/Nazis already hidden under your bed?

        1. NickC
          April 3, 2021

          Hefner, That’s because “Gramscification” – also described as “cultural marxism” – is widespread. It is evident in the hatred of our Judeo-Christian heritage.

          1. hefner
            April 3, 2021

            Oh, is it?

        2. Walt
          April 4, 2021

          Thank you, hefner. I will look under my bed and, if commies et al. are lurking there, perhaps they could sort through the old watercolours, baby clothes and other unused trappings that were put there as a half-way stage to the recycling centre.

    3. Lifelogic
      April 3, 2021

      Indeed Lady Thatcher the only half decent PM in my lifetime. But even she made so very many errors. Appointing the innumerate John Major as Chancellor and letting him join the ERM. She also retained dire state virtual monopolies in education and healthcare, failed to cut the state down to size and did not cut or simplify taxes remotely sufficiently. She buried us further into the EU, fell for the global warming exaggerations/religion and closed many excellent grammar schools as Education Sec. and PM. But then as we know most Tory MP are lefty, pro EU, green crap spewing Libdims at heart. Then as now alas.

    4. nota#
      April 3, 2021

      @Dom – Agreed +1
      It is better the UK people pay more than the going rate in the free world for their weekly shop, than it is to increase the health and wealth of the Nation. How else can you argue the benefit of being beholden to volatile rulers else where.

    5. Timaction
      April 3, 2021

      Indeed. After 11 years in office no reform of the socialist quangos and appointees. No reform of left wing recruitment and selection processes invented by Blair. Wokeness and PC everywhere with no challenge by the Tory’s a former conservative Party. ER and BLM protests unchallenged by woke police but everyones Granny arrested at lockdown rebellions. No one allowed to challenge the green agenda. No funding to examine milanovic cycles, our orbit, tectonic plates, the intensity of the sun, a year of lockdown, any change to our atmosphere. Bet no ones looking. Just hide more tax rises as social care in our council tax Bill’s.

  5. Mark B
    April 3, 2021

    Good morning

    I did not listen to the interview but, thanks to Harry’s Farm on YT and online resources I understand that farmers are to be encouraged (bribed if you will) to set aside land for the environment if they wish to receive subsidies from the government. It is clear that we have a serious problem between what political parties promise when seeking office and what is carried out. Many here have complained about this but our kind host seemed unmoved. Perhaps he now realises, as we do, that we are treated as simply voting fodder to give a veneer of democracy. As I pointed out here yesterday, we need to start asking what is exactly going on and who are the people pulling the strings and why ?

    1. Hope
      April 3, 2021

      Mark,
      To answer your question why, EU environment rules will be followed. Johnson signed up to it under WA and NIP. I am surprised JR is not apologising rather than feign questions of surprise.

      Gove true to form ratted/ betrayed brexit

    2. nota#
      April 3, 2021

      @Mark B – we have had successive Governments that prefer to subsidise foreign producers above our own and then complain, well not complain, but dip into your wallet to furnish wooly ideas they see as election wins with the Metro Left Liberals. The Country as a whole is never a consideration, in part that thinking is why some would see the break up of the UK – just about any one with a focus on the ‘whole’ country and not the noisy neighbours could do a better job.

      1. SecretPeople
        April 3, 2021

        It is a matter of security.
        If DEFRA’s concern for the environment was genuine they would be encouraging the farming and consumption of locally grown food over that transported over long distances.

    3. a-tracy
      April 3, 2021

      Each minister should write us a six monthly blog report of what they have achieved as head of that department in the previous six months each post should be less than 500 words and be open to comments, they should have five days, five posts to inform us and the final post should be what their goals and aims are for the following six months. It should be published online. Too many get away with very little quantitative improvements.

      Ten years of a conservative government and what improvements have DEFRA achieved that were instructions from this government, is there evidence of improved sales, productivity, husbandry, land management, safer food, more exports, reducing demand on imports on produce we can grow for ourselves.

  6. Peter Wood
    April 3, 2021

    Good Morning,

    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8702/

    Government Policy includes: Farmers had however called for the previous Bill to have a greater focus on food production. The new Bill requires Ministers to have regard to the need to encourage the production of food in England, in an environmentally sustainable way.

    It seems the farmers were asking for increased food production, but I can’t find where the Government identifies INCREASED food production as an objective. Only this environmentally sustainable aim.

    Where is the Government policy objective to get us producing more and importing less?

    1. Peter Wood
      April 3, 2021

      BTW

      Sir John, I was encouraged by the response from the supermarkets. As all manufacturers know, product placement on a supermarket shelf is critical.
      Perhaps you might suggest that the supermarkets make it easier to select UK manufactured goods. This can be done be allocating their own space (with non EU alternatives nearby perhaps) with appropriate signage, and placing EU products elsewhere. I much prefer to purchase UK products if at all possible, I’d like to know where to look first for them. I believe this is common practice in some countries.

  7. agricola
    April 3, 2021

    I am inclined to ask, who is Janet Hughes. Is she a member of Parliament or a civil servant. The way you put it she appears to be someone beavering away in the background with no direction.

    Direction needs to come from Parliament with the basic message, we want more home grown temperate food. Ask farmers what they need to kncrease the range of what they grow and how they can extend the growing season to produce that range in volume. The much maligned “Climate Change” will offer a great natural boost to production. Perhaps the Sun knows more about these things than do extinction rebellion or DEFRA. It will work wonders for wine producers. Once agriculture has a defined target, and has told government what it needs to achieve it, we then only require government to make the financial support available. Last year we were sending it all to the EU who then sent some back in support of their CAP . We can now redirect and pay direct getting the end result we want.

    The CP has a vast array of rural MPs, get them into wellies and out to all the farming people they represent and find out what farmers need to increase their home grown, whatever it happens to be, but do not start directing farming on what to grow. Leave that to the market. We do not want butter mountains. All farmers possibly need is the knowledge that low cost finance is there for them if and when needed. Lets hear from those in this diary who farm for a living.

    Kerb the rip off tendencies of the supermarkets in their purchasing of all this food, having reduced the food mile element in its cost. Ask the question, is there an increased cost in growing organically, supermarkets seem to think so.

    Long term we could shift sugar production from beet to cane. This would reduce the basic cost and even more so by removing the legacy EU duty. It would free up much productive land for other use and help developing countries from the Commonwealth.

  8. Sea_Warrior
    April 3, 2021

    If only we had a Conservative government, with a sizeable majority, able to govern us effectively, in pursuit of sensible objectives. But we have one that wants to take some farm-land out of production, and to build over much of the rest, while pursuing ‘Net Zero’. I despair of it – and I won’t vote for it until Johnson has been winkled out of No 10 and a Conservative put in place.
    I hope that your ‘taking this up with ministers’ will see you getting up on your feet in the Commons at DEFRA Questions.

  9. Nig l
    April 3, 2021

    All,three ministers have farming backgrounds but are singularly unimpressive. To be fair to Eustace he did follow his principles and resign from the May sell out.

    Rebecca Pow and Victoria Prentis both voted to remain in the EU, albeit thought their careers more important than conscience so supported the Brexit deal, but coming from legal and TV and PR backgrounds no surprise they are incapable of driving anything so I guess led by the nose by their civil servants.

  10. Jim
    April 3, 2021

    Spring has come to Kent, on the large fields the polytunnels have sprouted like billy-oh. But the small fields have nothing or just a few sheep. The small fields are not economic for farming and housing is not allowed and sooner or later the travellers will buy a plot and quite legally park a caravan or two or three. Easter is the ideal moving-in time, while you legislators are out the way.

    Essentially Do Nothing DEFRA cannot make up its mind what to do with marginal farming and is stuck between the farmers, the housers and the NIMBYs. Tough, that’s what you are paid for. But don’t kid yourself that fields left over from the bucolic 18th century are going to produce any carrots or crops of any kind. Houses or caravans or warehouses, all within 55 minutes of Charing Cross – you decide.

  11. Bob Dixon
    April 3, 2021

    Come on George Eustice.

    Get a grip

  12. graham1946
    April 3, 2021

    Why? It’s becoming more and more obvious it is all part of the re-join the EU plan. Ministers and politicians in voting for Boris’s sellout only ever aid lip service to Brexit and delivered the mess we have. I just cannot believe it is all incompetence, there must be a plan.

    1. Andy
      April 3, 2021

      Were you mis-sold a Brexit?

      1. graham1946
        April 4, 2021

        No, its been debauched by Remainers, just like the resistance to the referendum result.

      2. NickC
        April 4, 2021

        We were mis-sold a BINO, Andy. Something Remain Quislings worked assiduously towards, to your approval.

  13. Alan Jutson
    April 3, 2021

    I wonder sometimes who are we trying to save the planet for, humans, or animals and insects.

    Yes of course we need to reduce the willful poisoning of our planet, and improve the management of it, as that helps everyone, but if we are not going to do anything about the growth in numbers of the human population, then we will need more food and water to sustain the human race.

    I really do wonder how some people get into such positions of power and influence when their views are so at odds with the facts of life.
    Quite why Government wants to support these idiots with vast amounts of taxpayers money is another big, big worry.

    1. Timaction
      April 3, 2021

      No one can argue for pollution of any kind or destruction of the flora/fauna in the worlds rain forests or our greenbelt. It would however be good to have some independent thinking and research but not from the climate religion lobby. Watching an American documentary yesterday was interesting stating such things a Milanovic cycles, orbit’s shape, sun intensity, plates, magnetic fields over the millennia, ice ages etc etc. Then comparison to the last time our atmosphere had 0.04% carbon and ice core drilling cores going back 3 million years. But no comparison to the first set of reasons for climate change v carbon in the atmosphere. It was sad because until that point the facts were great, not the religion. Governments need to fund proper research not religious zealots.
      How is Governments mass migration policy helping any of this regardless of beliefs?

    2. IanT
      April 3, 2021

      You are assuming that there will be continued growth in the human population – and that at a certain point it will not start to decline.

      You need a reproduction rate of 2.1 to just sustain current population levels and much of the West (including the UK) is already below that number. Some countries (like Japan) are already down to a rate 1.0. China & India are still in population growth but the evidence is that this will plateau before 2050 (which is not that far away).

      Time to rethink some out of date base assumptions.

  14. Fedupsoutherner
    April 3, 2021

    No problem John. A few more solar farms, wind farms and garden villages will sort it. That’s what farm land is being used for in Shropshire now.

  15. Bryan Harris
    April 3, 2021

    Once again DEFRA let’s us down.

    I’ve lost count of the failures in DEFRA – the number of times they failed farmers in getting requisite subsidies or payments while in the EU, or failed to provide guidance to farmers, ETC ETC.

    At this crucial time when we could so easily face shortages of imports due to lockdowns and adverse weather, now is not the time for DEFRA to be dragging it’s heels off in a politically correct direction.

    If any department required a Cummings approach to better working it is DEFRA – and it’s certainly time it had an effective minister IN CHARGE!

  16. turboterrier
    April 3, 2021

    One day (please god not too long) we will be blessed with a parliament who will call time out on all these institutions such as DEFRA and realise they are not needed and they are eroding the positions of the very people they are employed to help. Just knock them down and flatten the site they add nothing in the way of value to UKplc.
    The people who do the job are the experts and if the majority of politicians actually walked the talk and really listened it would not take too long for a plan that those people would actually own and get behind. At the moment the government have a energy plan to destroy farmland. 300 acres of farmland passed for solar panels near to Telford, just one that is in the pipeline within Shropshire boundary.

  17. jerry
    April 3, 2021

    DEFRA needs to be scrapped, nothing less will now do, farmers and growers were the original environmentalists, they do not need quangos telling them their trade, any more than a Master cabinet maker needs to be told how to sharpen chisels.

    Like with many a govt department, farmers and growers need a return to the sanity that was MAFF, although I doubt many are expecting it any time soon though, to much ‘pillow-talk’ within the walls of high office. You know what, he might have to go, if he can not start leaving his day job and personal life at the bedroom door..

    1. Andy
      April 3, 2021

      Would you like the Ministry of War back too? How about some good old fashioned child labour too?

      1. jerry
        April 3, 2021

        @Andy; If the UK needed to conduct a long offensive war, as we had to between 1939-45, then yes I would be calling for a Ministry of War!

        The UK needs to feed its population, that needs farmers, hence why we need a Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, not a quango set up -so it would seem- with the intent of preventing farmers (and growers) from farming the land…

      2. Timaction
        April 3, 2021

        The child labour element has been exported to the third world and China to make things for us instead of making our own in regulated factories here by adults! Exporting our carbon footprint as well whilst importing our coal from foreign Countries instead of mining here as it makes our woke politicos feel better. Like importing wood pellets from America for our power station. Madness, totally out of touch with our reality.

      3. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2021

        I must admit that there is much to be said for child labour. I had a paper round, repaired people’s TVs, radios and cars, washed dishes, worked at Woolworths, brewed homemade beer to barter with, worked at a local hotel and a bakery at Christmas and Easter (packing hot cross buns, loaves etc.). It taught me rather a lot about work and people. My wife worked at Tea rooms and restaurants.

        The red tape & laws now largely restricting it are very damaging indeed.

    2. jerry
      April 3, 2021

      Our host says in this article “[the supermarkets] own surveys confirm that more U.K. customers want to buy British.”, might I ask why it appears to fall to the retailers for these surveys to be carried out and then the marketing of UK produced food, when there is a (statutory) AHDB. Whilst it might be constituted as a industry levy based Board, that doesn’t mean it should be all but invisible to the consumer, considering one of its duties is (b) improving marketing in the industry. Is this not another example of DEFRA oversight failings?

      Many thinks to Denis Cooper for reminding us, yesterday, of the existence of the AHDB!

      1. a-tracy
        April 3, 2021

        Had to look up AHDB – The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is a levy board funded by farmers and growers and some other parts of the supply chain. It plays a vital role in improving farm business efficiency and competitiveness in the areas of: pigs, beef and lamb production in England; milk, potatoes and horticulture in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. Budget £56 million.

        Looks like the members aren’t happy with their performance “ Potato growers have returned a resounding “no” vote in the AHDB ballot, launched in mid-February to ascertain whether they wanted to continue with the statutory levy. Results published on Monday evening (22 March 2021) revealed that of the 1,196 votes cast, 66% were in favour of scrapping the levy, compared with 34% who wanted to retain it.“

  18. Sakara Gold
    April 3, 2021

    The government has already unveiled a path to sustainable farming from 2021. In the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years, their plan sets out how government will introduce a new system that is tailored in the interests of English farmers, centred on support that rewards farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices.

    The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

    We will begin to move away from the current EU Basic Payment Scheme towards the new UK policies in 2022, However, I fail to see why the sugar and barley industries should continue to receive the humungous subsidies that they currently enjoy after the transition.

    1. NickC
      April 3, 2021

      Sakara, What on earth does the phrase: “a path to sustainable farming” mean? It sounds like more CAGW based cant, without any practical benefit. Is it to sustain more home food production, or to sustain more green bureaucrats? We should be “un-wilding” more land for our essential food, including re-claiming marshland and land from the sea.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2021

        +1

  19. majorfrustration
    April 3, 2021

    This government is playing and missing at so many issues – talking does not make it happen. When the Covid tide goes out we will see just what a mess the Government has dithered over – farming fishing NI, bonfire of EU Rules and Regs

  20. Andy
    April 3, 2021

    Ministers in this government rarely give interviews – particularly to the BBC. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, this government does not believe it should be accountable to the people. Despite the fact that the vast majority did not vote for it. Secondly, the competence level of ministers is so low that they can’t handle the most basic of questions. Perhaps they have also run out of flags seeing that it is now not possible for a minister to do an interview from their study without half a dozen giant flags draped behind them. Maybe flags are imported and subjected to Brexit delays.

    Anyway, imagine how different our country would be if Tory Brexiteers actually paid as much attention to the service sector was there do to fish and farming. Their Brexit deal did nothing for financial services, architecture, law, accountancy, music, sport, fashion, the arts etc etc etc. All sectors completely screwed over in favour of fish and farm. And, ironically, we now cannot export fish or cheese.

    No wonder ministers are frit. You’d have thought they’d want to practice against Emily Maitlis or Jon Snow before the public inquiry.

    1. Richard1
      April 3, 2021

      Ministers give interviews most days. Many are highly articulate and manage to get their arguments across without insulting their opponents. You should pay attention you might learn a trick or two yourself.

      Maitlis and particularly Jon Snow are leftwing campaigners so I don’t blame ministers for giving them a miss – they have enough opportunity to debate with opponents in Parliament and other fora. Also, hardly anyone watches Maitlis’s and snow’s tedious leftist programmes (other than other leftists), so those would be a waste of ministers’ time.

      1. Lifelogic
        April 3, 2021

        Which ministers are highly articulate? Some I agree are good at avoiding the question, saying untruths or just stating things so blindingly obviously true that they did not need to be said.

    2. NickC
      April 3, 2021

      Andy, The government is a lot more accountable to the public than the BBC is, because it is elected. It’s that democracy thingy you wanted to over rule not so long ago.

      Anyway, I see you’re re-cycling your notion that only Tories voted Leave. Is that because your grand EU vax effort, and your EU low power toasters have come a cropper, but you still feel the need to say something?

    3. David Brown
      April 3, 2021

      +1

  21. Christine
    April 3, 2021

    When you understand that this Government does not want to increase our farming capacity then DEFRAs attitude makes sense. The only investment we are going to see is money for re-wilding, tree planting and returning land to flood plains.

    They want complete control of the food supply and our land. The aim is the end of small farms and the expansion of mega-farms owned by rich landowners or the state.

    In the future, only the privileged will own cars because the introduction of electric vehicles is currently unviable. The rest of us will have to walk, use bicycles or public transport. This will make living in the countryside difficult.

    It is good Sir John that you are fighting for our fishermen and farmers but it’s Government policy that needs reform. It’s urgent that Boris is either removed or kept in check before he does irrepressible damage to our country with his faux green agenda.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 3, 2021

      Good post Christine

    2. Timaction
      April 3, 2021

      Indeed Christine. The additional walking, cycling etc is now making actual written entries into the local planning consultations as a belief it will happen. Totally out of touch local planning authorities who obviously don’t use or know the routes of public transport for the weekly shop etc. Going every thing green whilst allowing building on the greenbelt to accommodate Government “build back better” mass migration policy. You couldn’t make it up.

    3. Mark B
      April 4, 2021

      +1

  22. nota#
    April 3, 2021

    Sir John – from explanation DEFRA appears to be another Quango to supply jobs for the boys, but has no purpose for the Country.
    What happened to the bonfire of Quango’s
    It is not logical in a free Democracy for any taxpayer paid for organisation to not have a member of the Government directly responsible – i.e. if a department strays from a direct mandate to encourage the wealth and health of the nation a minister gets sacked. – It’s called accountability
    The taxpayer has to stop funding outfits that don’t benefit in a direct and purposeful way the taxpayer. All taxpayer contributions should produce a re-investable return – never just ‘funding’.
    As with yesterdays ‘Diary’ theme No Profit, No Tomorrow.

  23. formula57
    April 3, 2021

    Defra surely joins the Home Office in earning the “not fit for purpose” tag line.

    The current (3 days old) Harry’s Farm video on You Tube explains the U.K. oil seed rape production (typically a profitable crop) will deliver a shortfall of about one million tonnes (some half the total U.K. requirement) owing to the damage done by cabbage stem flea beetle now use of Neonicotinoid insecticides previously used for dressing the seeds has been banned (by the Evil Empire and still by the U.K.!). In consequence, the U.K. will make up the shortfall by imports sourced from countries that do not suffer from the ban on Neonicotinoid insecticides. Defra must view the balance of payments and farm incomes as someone else’s problems.

  24. Dave Andrews
    April 3, 2021

    Does anyone imagine the government cares about this fringe interest of farming? An acre of housing might yield taxes in the 100s of £1000s every year, whereas as farmland it will barely return anything in comparison. Plus, there’s all those farm subsidies.
    So if you’re a government wondering where to get the money from to prop up the cost of its spending, concreting over the country for housing with a steady supply of immigrants is the way to go. If you can’t do that, let the country property be sold off for second homes and holiday lets, especially if it can be bought by foreign investors (all that foreign currency coming in).

  25. agricola
    April 3, 2021

    Leave EU have published a very pertinent piece on recent events at a UK school. It is long overdue that some foreigners who have chosen to live here realise that they are guests. They should accept that they are in the UK by their choice and the majorities acceptance of their need. They either accept our hospitality, democracy, and evolved way of doing things or they are free to leave. They, not the UK majority are the greatest threat to racial tension.

    1. agricola
      April 3, 2021

      If I am to believe what I read, no pupils were offended by the lesson. Grammar school boys are quite intelligent and are taught to think for themselves. It was just the parents, less imbued with freedom in education that were at the centre of the protest. They in turn were encouraged by a weak woke head teacher who should have told them to Naff Orf , and supported his staff.

    2. Andy
      April 3, 2021

      Why do you assume they are foreign?

      1. agricola
        April 3, 2021

        T V film of those involved in this odd protest suggests to me that they were not dressed for Ascot. They were in no way indicating that they were intigrating in the society that was hosting them, even if their sons were fully integrated. They are living in a medaeval past.

  26. Fred.H
    April 3, 2021

    I’d have thought the subject of avoiding EU imports of food would be at the very front of Government action? Sadly we should be concentrating on how to produce more of our food, not that for possible export, than many other matters. Of course financial investment and persuasion is at the heart of a solution! CAP has always dealt by carrot and stick to control what he Empire produces and where. High time we reacted in kind.

    1. Ed M
      April 3, 2021

      @Fred,
      The issue is ultimately down to what consumers want. You cannot tell them what to do – only inspire them which is obviously a lot harder to do.
      Sovereignty is a great thing but ultimately requires people being inspired by a strong, creative and chreeful vision why it is such a good thing. This vision is lacking – as is the leadership and plan to implement it.
      The only answer: have to try a lot harder (people will be angry by this but I am only speaking the truth / the reality).
      Genuine, deep. Patriotism does require a certain amount of sacrifice for others / for the common good of the country – and to inspire and create that is really hard work. And is ultimately down to those in education, the media and the arts to achieve.

  27. William Long
    April 3, 2021

    And the letter you quoted from Dame Lucy on 1 April was thought to be a joke? From the output I am receiving from DEFRA, I am beginning to thinkl it might have been better if we had remained in the EU.

  28. Ed M
    April 3, 2021

    Supermarkets care about profits not politicians. Their PR departments will spin out any kind of piffle to keep people happy.

    The increase in UK Food Production (which I strongly support) will only come from an increase in genuine patriotism amongst consumers inspired by those in education, the media and the arts. And for it to happen properly will take years with lots of effort.

    All part of increasing genuine patriotism in general. Part of problem is that an en economy based more on individualistic profit (or too much on this) than work ethic kills genuine, deep patriotism. Genuine, deep patriotism goes hand in hand with work ethic (and sense of responsibility for self and family).

    1. Fred.H
      April 3, 2021

      So when is your favourite supermarket going to have areas highlighted with banners’ UK grown, supplied only’ / EU supplied only / Rest of World supplied only’?
      Now that might trigger realism about who we are reliant on!

      1. glen cullen
        April 3, 2021

        what an interesting idea….it would make walking in supermarkets more fun

        1. Fred.H
          April 3, 2021

          it ought to make it crammed silly in one area, metro types with golden stars badges in another , and a few in the third wondering what countries are ‘Rest of World’.

  29. The Prangwizard
    April 3, 2021

    We are still in practise part of the EU, subservient to its policies and thinking and this has the consent of ‘Boris’ and his common law wife. We will not gain any benefit from indepence as we don’t have it. Defra and the leadership and functionaries with its mindset acts against our indepence.

    And on the subject of increasing growing capacity how do we do this when so many otherwise intelligent people have an obsession with planting millions of trees on perfectly good fertile land.

  30. acorn
    April 3, 2021

    This “Future Farming and Countryside Programme” has already been scrutinised by the National Audit Office (NAO) based on its knowledge of DEFRA’s track record for implementing and managing policy change. This programme does away with EU CAP direct payments that account for circa 61% of a farms net profit and prevents 42% of farms otherwise making a loss.

    The NAO said. “The success of the Programme depends on key assumptions about take‑up and how the farming community responds to these changes. In introducing a system based on payments for environmental outcomes, DEFRA is assuming a level of take-up that has not been seen on previous environmental schemes and that the withdrawal of direct payments to farmers will be offset by productivity gains across the sector”. And then you have to add the Brexit effect.

  31. Richard1
    April 3, 2021

    Off topic hats off to Tony Sewell for his excellent report which points out that far from being ‘institutionally racist’, the U.K. is one of the best countries in the world for racial integration. As stated also by the very sensible Kemi Badenoch MP.

    Of course the sneering leftwing victim-hood blob can’t stand this – conclusions based on evidence which run counter to their shrill and divisive identity politics. And presented by respected and upstanding members of ethnic minority groups such as Mr Sewell, who has spent a lifetime working to improve opportunities for young black and other minority people. Good for him and his team, time for the rest of us to ignore the rantings of the woke left on this issue.

    1. Long
      April 3, 2021

      The professional race baiters never explain what systemic racism is and how it exists within our legal framework. They never seem able to provide a comparator country that we should aim to emulate in our pursuit of an anti-racist utopia where all races achieve equal outcomes without any consideration of merit.

  32. Norman
    April 3, 2021

    Lamentably true, Sir John. Defra was a Blairite reaction to the 2001 FMD disaster – much of it made worse by the same ‘follow the science’ quasi ‘experts’ that we have today behind the scenes in the Covid debacle. Both of them serious issues, but made far worse by inept handling.
    We suspected at the time that food production as a priority was being demoted, in favour of the green agenda. As vast numbers of animals were needlessly slaughtered due to the contiguous cull policy advised by this same bunch of statisticians, many farmers seriously wondered ‘Do they still want us?’ There was a perception they were bearing the brunt of an ignorant urban revenge. Today, that is ongoing, especially under the banner of Climate Change. Remember – you cannot grow food without reference to the local terrain, soil and climate, and the expertise of generations; and ruminants play a huge part in sustaining the balance. Thank you for asking the right questions.

  33. Richard Jenkins
    April 3, 2021

    Just look at Janet Hughes’ CV on LinkedIn. In classic civil service style, she has been nowhere near DEFRA and farming until less than two years ago. Now she’s the “administrator” in charge of British farming. It could be worse. She could be in the MoD. Oh, wait ……

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      April 3, 2021

      Yes bit the most important criteria is that she’s a woman.

    2. William Long
      April 3, 2021

      But she answers to Mr Justice, the Minister, so he and the Government must approve of what she said.

  34. Everhopeful
    April 3, 2021

    Again.
    I am so genuinely surprised at the lack of power you MPs appear to have.
    Why not refuse to allow a meeting chaired by a minion?
    Root out Eustice and TELL him!
    This is existential.
    DEFRA is busy setting up a whole new EU type payment scheme….only far, far worse!
    I can assure you from personal experience that this sustainable growing business just does not work.
    And the charlatans who pretend to farm like this are down the supermarket getting their grub!
    Another Emperor’s New Clothes for the idiot government.

  35. Mark in Brixham
    April 3, 2021

    Speaking as a food supplier, can I make clear that encouraging an increase in UK production is completely pointless because your damaging Brexit means we only have a market of 60 million to sell to in the UK, instead of over 400 million in the EU. Grow more or catch more, and it will finish up rotting (as it already is) because we don’t have enough buyers. We should commit to follow the EU’s rules, like Norway does, and so regain market access. Which matters more, British jobs or your obsession with the ECJ?

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 3, 2021

      That will be because we already grow far more food than we need and so we have to export the surplus.

      Oh no, hang on, in fact we don’t grow far more food than we need and overall we have no surplus to export, in 2019 we only grew 64% of all the food we needed and 77% of the indigneous types of food we needed.

      Page 148 here:

      https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950618/AUK-2019-07jan21.pdf

      Sorry about that, old chap, but it seems you got it the wrong, again.

    2. a-tracy
      April 3, 2021

      Were the EU buying 400 million of our produce Mark?

      Our excess fish and products left on the shore because of Brexit 3rd Country rules in the EU should be put into ready made supermarket meals, children’s school dinners, hospital dinners and our major supermarkets should have an obligation to provide a bigger local market for them. Cooking programs on tv should encourage British buyers to try new foods as they did for beef cheeks and Yo Sushi did for seafood and edamame (who’d have thought Brits would eat that!). We have lots of Europeans now settled in the UK and thousands from all around the World with their different eating habits, as a Country many are hopeless at sales, marketing, finding new markets, promoting our home and as a food supplier surely you want to see a change in that?

  36. Qubus
    April 3, 2021

    I read in today‘s Daily Telegraph that in France, there is a caterpillar, the pine processionary caterpillar, that is dangerous to humans being able to cause, amongst other things, anaphylactic shock. This caterpillar, which has long been present in southern France has now reached Paris and there is every likelihood that it will penetrate further north, with the obvious danger that it will eventually reach the UK.
    Would it not be a good idea to safeguard the UK by some sort of mandatory inspection of imported farm products at our border?
    I wonder what the EU would do if the boot were on the other foot!

  37. Pauline Baxter
    April 3, 2021

    John. As usual you talk sense.
    One reason for Brexit was to run and if necessary, subsidise our own farming and other productive industries as WE see fit.
    Is B.J. (probably influenced by his bedfellow), capable of running the country, it’s ministers, it’s civil servants etc. along your sensible lines?

  38. Qubus
    April 3, 2021

    Slightly off-topic:
    But I read in this morning’s Telegraph that the head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service claims that, whilst at Oxford, he only attended half a dozen lectures, being too busy playing hockey and meeting his girlfriend.
    I can quiet believe that as he then goes on to confess to having studied PPE whilst there. This reinforces the comment that I have heard from numerous students that PPE is the easiest course in Oxford in which to get a degree.
    To my mind, this explains a lot !

  39. kb
    April 3, 2021

    The government is still staffed by people desperately trying to recreate EU membership from outside the EU. They are all remainers who refuse to recognise any potential Brexit upsides.
    The Brexiters said we could import food tariff-free at world prices, typically at 20% below EU prices. We were promised cheaper food as a result. What have we done? The answer is, faithfully replicated the EU import tariff schedule (with a few simplifications). So no Brexit advantage realised there.
    As for farming in the UK forget it. That prime agricultural land is needed for housing the immigrants. Also, intensive UK farming needs ten calories of fossil fuel for every one calorie of food produced, so I guess we want rid of it to meet our net zero target.

    1. glen cullen
      April 3, 2021

      spot on !!!

      1. kb
        April 4, 2021

        Thanks, there’s a lot more where that came from!

  40. xy
    April 3, 2021

    I want to buy British but product labelling is not good.

    Can we not have a UK labelling system that allows us to find out where the product was created and the source of its components? Something that can be seen without too much effort – national flags with percentages against them would be a start point perhaps – and a bigger flag for the country where it was assembled/created.

  41. George Brooks.
    April 3, 2021

    Who is this good lady that has sprung up from the depths of DEFRA? Why has George Eustice not led this whole review and the future support for farmers?

    We have let our immigration get out of hand and now have 10 to 15 M too many people for this small island. As you say Sir john, we are not encouraging farmers to grow more food and it looks like they will be rewarded for growing wild hedgerows!!!!!!!!

    There are problems with fishing as well and G Eustice MP is beginning to take on the role of ”all mouth and no do”. We have a huge opportunity and he needs to take advantage of it.

  42. jon livesey
    April 3, 2021

    The switch to British food is going to happen automatically, and there probably isn’t much necessity to have special schemes to promote it.

    One thing that a lot of people have yet to notice is that a lot of our food trade with the EU consisted of the UK shipping raw food to the EU for processing, and then shipping a good portion of that processed food back to the UK retail system.

    Since there are now new costs associated with this, it will become more advantageous to process food in the UK for UK consumption and cut the EU out of the loop. And since processing food isn’t rocket science, this should happen fairly quickly.

    So we will start to see total EU trade figures for food decline permanently, but it was pretty much fake “trade” to begin with. It was just food taking a round trip to the EU and ending up back in the UK. Remainers will trumpet this as some sort of disaster, but that will have zero impact on consumer, because prices won’t change.

    What will happen instead is that we will gradually discover that the EU was never such a significant “trade” partner as EU fans used to claim.

  43. David Brown
    April 3, 2021

    Brexit is a serious problem to UK food production.
    Most seasonal workers came from within the EU, British people don’t want to work on harvesting.
    We enjoyed unlimited travel, education (Erasmus) health care and work any where in the EU without borders – this is now denied us, all because of Brexit.
    There is bitter anger within young people at what old people have voted for with Brexit, however there is a growing movement to take Britain into the EU Customs Union at the next election and salute the EU flag.
    The UK cannot be totally self sufficient in food production any more, the whole nature of both Agriculture and Horticulture has radically changed and its not economic to grow a wide range of crops.
    Meat consumption is dramatically going down.
    Traditional glasshouse and Polytunnel salad crop production is nothing like as wide spread as it once was.
    Many young people have left the industry because land based education has suffered financial cuts.
    To achieve more crop production means Gov grant aid to the Agric and Hort industry, and Gov investment in land based colleges all of which is totally lacking.

    1. Peter2
      April 3, 2021

      DB
      More Project Fear.
      This time we are all going to starve.
      Hilarious nonsense.

    2. Billb
      April 3, 2021

      Recently we see how one ship blocking the Suez canal has the potential to disrupt commerce worldwide- we have to ask ourselves what else could go wrong what else could be out there waiting for us- an outbreak of hostilities perhaps? – and we don’t even have our own merchant navy anymore- what DB talks about is not hilarious nonsense but very real

      1. Peter2
        April 4, 2021

        The Suez Canal is now re opened.
        No shortages in supermarkets as a result.
        There are other routes and methods of transport for getting goods into the UK.
        And alternative suppliers in a range of countries for almost every foodstuff.
        We could produce far more foodstuff here in the UK than we currently do.
        Being out of the EU and the disaster that is CAP, gives us an excellent opportunity.

      2. hefner
        April 4, 2021

        Writing ‘hilarious nonsense’ without producing any element explaining why it might be so simply shows how limited in thinking the author of such a line is. A bit like using ‘Gramscification’ or ‘cultural marxism’. People get so happy when they can put their own little hatred under a (pompous) intellectual-looking headline.

        BTW, happy Judeo-Christian Easter to all.

        1. Peter2
          April 4, 2021

          I think I have explained myself Hefner.
          But feel free to join in with your own brand of hilarious nonsense.

  44. john waugh
    April 3, 2021

    Agritech –
    A start up in San Francisco called Plenty has a vertical facility with a footprint of 2 acres producing as much as 720 acres of farmland . Produces salad leaves at present ,no pesticides . Strawberries next .
    Robotic researchers in UK are working with growers .
    University of Hertfordshire on cucumber harvesting.
    Cambridge University spinoff Dogtooth Technologies – robotic berry harvesting. Robots deployed in Kent .
    University of Lincoln – Robotics and Autonomous Systems for Berry production .
    Kings College London – on cut fresh culinary herbs .
    Possibly some time away from dispensing with human workforce ,but the robots definitely coming.
    Something called World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in London on OCT 15-16 with 14 start-ups i found on my phone .

  45. agricola
    April 4, 2021

    If we have MAFF do we really need DEFRA. Was the latter set up as a conduit for EU rule taking. If so does that not make them an unnecessary layer of interference in our farming and fishing industry. As you say, if we have a minister in control of MAFF, he should be the one to come to Parliament and explain what our future policy is on farming and fisheries post Brexit.

  46. Sulis
    April 4, 2021

    Easter greetings Sir J R,
    I would like to see more flowers grown here too. I’d pay a premium for English Roses.

    The Agapanthus is lovely too.

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