Whaplode Drove grower on farming matters

Farmer Ian Stancer.

Farmer Ian Stancer.

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I’ve recently been flitting round the country visiting universities to help my daughter decide where to invest her future student debt. As farmers do, I scanned the fields to assess the state of cropping and can report it’s patchy at best.

A recent event on the local calendar was the sugar beet price negotiation meeting in Peterborough. About 350 people representing around a third of the national tonnage attended to hear NFU sugar board chairman William Martin explain the current price negotiations. There was a unanimous determination to hold out for a fairer deal that recognises the extra risk and costs shouldered by our long campaigns, especially after several tricky seasons. Talks are currently at a stalemate but, with luck and solidarity on the part of growers, we may have a favourable outcome.

Last week’s EU CAP reform deal is a disaster; how Owen Paterson can claim to have his country’s interests at heart while fighting for the lowest funding in the EU is quite bizarre. His desire to shift funding into ‘rural development’ is difficult to stomach when it is inevitable much of it will be frittered away in administrating expensive projects that do nothing of real rural worth.

Harvest is looming on the horizon and I am looking forward to tidying up a shabby looking farm; it’s likely to be a late harvest so time pressure will be acute. We must all try to be careful and stay safe in order to enjoy a hopefully better year ahead.