The future of smaller farms
Sir, – Now that the beef farmers have made their point and withdrawn their pickets from the meat plants, perhaps it is time for the Government and farming organizations to consider the problem of farm size.
In 1968 Dr Sicco Mansholt, the then-EEC commissioner for agriculture, drew up a plan for the future of agricultural development in Europe, known as the “Mansholt Plan”. This plan envisaged the phased retirement of small farmers, thus increasing farm size, and was coupled with improved technical education for future farmers. This was to take place over a generation and be accompanied by social welfare payments, designed to avoid serious disruption to the lives of individual farmers.
Unfortunately this was opposed by various vested interests, and was watered down to the present system of EU subsidies and grants, and so the problem of the survival of small and medium farms remains. – Yours, etc,