An informal Defra adviser

3 thoughts on “An informal Defra adviser”

  1. Rob, very little mention of food production. Could have been useful to have asked about food being a public good. In times of Covid, with supply and demand disruption and spikes, is food security too precious to be left entirely to market forces? Could the method of food production not be in receipt of public money, albeit for conventional [farming], if it provided enhancement to soil carbon neutrality and the environment?
    Land agents don’t manage the land, farmers do. That much is clear. If we are not profitable, these [enviro] schemes won’t have an ‘actor’ to carry out the tasks demanded.

  2. Thanks Conor. Time pressure I fear in covering a wide range of land issues. BG does touch on more investment in farming practices but I personally believe food can’t become a ‘public good’ because the market already, albeit imperfectly, already reflects the price paid for food (unlike ‘public goods’). You’ll be aware that food security has now been added to the Agriculture Bill (not to be conflated with food self-sufficiency) and yes, maintaining profitability (via improving productivity, not just increasing production) is key to delivering enviro benefits https://robyorke.co.uk/2019/09/state-ecological-intensification/
    However, post CAP subsidy, in the brave new world (irrespective of Covid-19), those farmers less efficient in food production will need to start making the transition required in taking on this wider land manager role. Time to think ahead now!

  3. The environmentalists and the agriculturalists are aligned in some ways but not at all in many others. The first want us to plant 3 million more trees but the second won’t let us use a selective herbicide to control the bracken which smothers the trees. One government heading in two different directions. Sounds like the Welsh Assembly to me!

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