It is very easy for me to ask this question because I’m not one, and while living in a rural area I have a certain detachment from it. I’m not asking the question in a facetious manner either, I’m serious, I actually don’t understand.
Through the summer and autumn we’ve had a series of protests, first beef, then milk and now hill farmers. The former two were described by the media as crises and were generally portrayed as coming out of the blue and generally being the result of those pesky Russians and the EU’s overreaction to them invading another country and those mean supermarkets not buying bull beef anymore when the customers no longer wanted it. In my opinion both things were very predictable if not inevitable.
The situation in the west with hill farmers farming commonage is very different. This is a problem entirely of the farmers own making, not only is it a pointless fight but the farmers involved are also completely in the wrong.
The initial proposal was that 80% of farmers on an area of commonage had to sign up to the GLAS scheme for any farmers to get money. The IFA negotiated this down to 50% but the farmers won’t agree to that, they want each farmer to be able to enter the scheme individually. This is the most outrageous suggestion I have ever heard!
There should be no negotiation on this matter with the farmers, it should be all or nothing, 100% sign up or no one gets a penny!
These areas are commonage so one farmer not signing up and not following these new rules will have the effect that no one might as well have signed up. One farmer not signing up means that even if the others follow the rules completely the one who doesn’t completely undermines the environmental benefits they accrue. They farm the one piece of land and they should all act together or not at all.
This constant whining from farmers has to stop. A huge number of people have already stopped listening to everything said by farmer groups and this is because of the ridiculous and irrational things they complain about. So if any farmers who have read this far please thing before you go out to protest, do you really have a valid reason to protest.
As an aside one of the next reasons for complaint will be associated with the Great Glanbia Con of 2012 where greedy farmers looked at rising milk prices and went woo hoo we want in on that. Glanbia PLC on the other hand say it for what it was, a price spike, and wanted to concentrate on valued added products so they readily sold the dairy division to the farmers and took control of the real money maker the processing division. Dairy farmers are starting to realise their mistake and are bound to start picketing Glanbia but it will be a problem of their own making. Their own greed caused their problems.