SMALL­HOLD­ERS GIVE THEIR VIEWS

Country Smallholding - - January News -

Sev­eral small­hold­ers and small-scale farm­ers in the South West gave their views about Brexit for a sur­vey by The Guardian news­pa­per. Devon farmer Jilly Greed said she be­lieves her farm has im­proved dur­ing the EU years. “Farm­ing is not a se­cure busi­ness, but the EU has given us some se­cu­rity and helped us in­no­vate,” she said. She is wor­ried that farm­ing may be sac­ri­ficed when post-Brexit trade deals are done. Mick Dumper, a Mid Devon small­holder, sees good and bad in Brexit. He says the amount of reg­u­la­tion is dis­pro­por­tion­ate for small pro­duc­ers. “I would hope that the bur­den of reg­u­la­tion on small farm­ers and pro­duc­ers would be lifted a bit.” But he fears that without some sub­sidy the cap­i­tal costs of run­ning a farm may be too great and they may be lost to “ur­ban money”. Tar­get­ing sub­si­dies on con­ser­va­tion schemes have helped re­vive ru­ral skills, he says. While the EU boosted glob­al­i­sa­tion and in­dus­trial-scale farm­ing, it has also in­creased en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, sub­si­dies for farm­ers, di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of food and tourism. Mid Devon bee­keeper Ray King said the EU has been good for bees, and a pan-Euro­pean ap­proach to dis­ease has been helped. He also says the EU’s en­vi­ron­men­tal en­cour­age­ment has led to richer hedgerows and field mar­gins.

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