Examine With Examples How Government Policies Can

Essay, Research Paper

In the last century, there have been many changes in the

process of farming and this has meant people having views on the countryside and

the influence of farming on the landscape and wildlife. This has meant that

farming has changed even further, as politicians in Brussels determine how

farmers should manage the fields in the European Union, and London politicians

in the United Kingdom. The main influencing factor on farmers? decisions in

recent years is the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which was first

implemented in 1962 by the European Government for farmers throughout the EU. CAP had three main aims: ??????????? To

protect the income of farmers ??????????? To

increase farm production and therefore reduce food imports ??????????? To

ensure reasonable prices for the consumer It was considered so important in the EU that 70% of the

EU?s budget was spent on CAP. In order to protect the farmer and increase

production, the EU set a minimum price on each product, if the farmer could not

sell his produce at this price or higher then the EU bought it from the farmer.

This was then sold when the prices rose again, but in reality it was often sold

at a loss, thus being subject to accusations of subsidising exports. This

guaranteed an income for the farmers and then as another method for reducing

food imports, taxing is introduced, so that EU farmers were not undercut by

cheap imports.CAP encouraged an increase in agricultural production and

therefore intensification. Often more chemicals were used in order to get a

larger yield, whilst to increase land capacity water meadows were drained and

dry land was irrigated. Farms also used specialised machinery on larger fields

with specialisation in one or two crops, as this encouraged efficiency. With

the creation of larger fields, hedges were cut down, so habitats were lost and soil

erosion increased. Between 1951 and 1990 96% of lowland herb-rich grasslands

habitats were lost due to the intensification, as all available land was used

for farmland. 60% of lowland heath habitats were lost, and due to deforestation

50% of ancient woodland habitats were lost.??

The result of this was a ?grain mountain?, a ?milk lake?,

a ?wine lake? and a ?butter mountain.? CAP had encouraged farmers to

overproduce and so the EU now had to store all the produce that the farmers

were unable to sell. CAP was also criticised for inefficiency, as it protected

small farmers who would normally have been out of business. It also caused

poorer countries to suffer: for example, economies with sugar cane had

difficulties exporting, due to the taxation of imports into the EU and the

subsidising of sugar beet production. Larger farms tended to benefit more than smaller farms,

thus resulting in the amalgamation of smaller farms by large-scale

agri-businesses. Between 1950 and 1987, the number of farms smaller than 20

hectares decreased by 69 in Great Britain, farms of between 20 and 100 hectares

decreased by 39, but farms of over 100 hectares increased by 154.

Intensification also lead to a change in the treatment of livestock, as they

were kept in smaller areas with larger numbers of animals, thus leading to

fears of animal rights and the transmission of diseases.Although CAP had its bad points, there were also

benefits: it reduced the rural unemployment and rural depopulation, as farm

labourers were able to keep their jobs. Money was also made available in the

countryside for the modernisation and therefore improved efficiency of

agriculture, the farmer was also able to pocket more money for himself, as his

income increased.CAP changed many aspects of agriculture in the United

Kingdom. Subsidies were paid for oilseed rape in order to reduce the amount of

vegetable oil imports. Oilseed rape covered 8,000 hectares before the UK joined

the Common Market, with subsidies in 1986 this had rapidly grown to 280,000 hectares.

Witley park Farm in 1999 planted Linseed due to Area 8 payments under CAP,

receiving £170 per acre on a yield of between ½ and ¾ tonne per acre, although

it was simply used as a cover crop and was then ploughed back into the soil.The ?sheepmeat regime? raised the guaranteed price of

lamb by 25% and so farmers were encouraged to have sheep. This lead to a huge

increase from 29.8 million sheep in the UK to 35.1 million between 1979 and

1984. Mislet Farm, in the Lake District increased its number of sheep from 120

to 210, although this has since been reduced to 200 due to quotas.In 1984, Milk quotas were introduced to try to reduce the

?milk lake,? which meant that farmers were limited to the amount of milk they

could produce, and if they exceeded their limit then they were fined at 23p per

litre (1999 price). Between 1983 and 1986 the amount of milk produced decreased

from 13.3 million litres to 11.9 million litres. However, this caused hardships

for many European milk producers and so many dairy farmers were forced to

slaughter a number of their herd. At Witley Park Farm the milking parlour was

replaced in 1997, due to EU regulations at a cost of £60,000. The selling of

350,000 litres of milk quota at 47p per litre financed this, although by 1999

the value of unused quota had fallen to 37p.In 1992 CAP reforms hoped to solve all the problems that

had arisen from CAP in the past. With a huge surplus of food, the EU paid for

every farmer to remove 15% of their land from agricultural production and into

set-aside for five years, at a rate of £225 per hectare, with the hope that

production would decrease by 15%. However, the reality was that farmers simply

intensified even more on the other 85% of their land. Initially 1.5 million

acres were put out of action and there were fears of developers, but the

government encouraged extra payments for benefits. In Surrey, the Countryside

Premium Scheme visited farms and allocated money to farms that set land aside

for areas, such as wild-flower meadows and other areas of natural beauty, as

567,000 hectares of the UK are covered by set-aside. Payments were also given

out to farms with Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA?s). Mislet Farm is paid

£40 per hectare on ESA?s and £100 for specially protected ground. As the ESA

scheme also pays out for the maintenance of the landscape and environment,

James Walling is also paid to rebuild dry-stone walls: £17 per metre.The reforms also encouraged farmers to diversify and use

their land for other purposes. Some farmers went into the leisure and

recreation industry with golf, stables, paint-balling and quad biking. Others

stayed with farming, but tried other methods, such as venison, llamas or fish

farming. In 1998, the BSE crisis hit the UK, beef exports were

banned and beef-on-the-bone was banned, with public confidence in the meat very

low. The price of beef in 1996 had been £700, this had plummeted to £450 in

1998. Clive Swann?s farm in Mold, suffered a large overdraft of £100,000 with a

loss of £50,000 in 1998 alone. The farm was struggling so badly that a labour

force of 2 other contract labourers had to be released, as Clive Swann could

not afford the wages. Instead, his wife gave up her job to help him and the

situation was at such a crisis point that together they received less than the

minimum wage, and so relied upon family credit. Anger brewed amongst the

farmers as the UK government did not apply for the full EU compensation

package. Whilst £980 million was available, £85 million was asked for, as it

was felt that the taxpayer would end up paying £800 million. The BSE crisis

affected everyone, as has the present foot-and-mouth-crisis, it is not only the

farmers that suffer, but also the auctioneers who have nothing to sell and the

livestock hauliers who are unable to move livestock around.£100 million health and hygiene charges have to be paid

for by the British farmers, and yet in the rest of the EU, their governments

pay for it, so it is another factor in the desperate lifestyle of the farmer,

who struggles to pay his bills. David Naish, President of NFU between 1991 and

1998 said: ?We are forced to compete with not just one hand tied behind our

back, but two.? The situation has become so severe for some farmers that in

1997, Glynn Pritchard a Bangor farmer committed suicide as his farm was

struggling so badly.The USSR used a policy of collective farms in the 1930?s,

which meant that the government decided what each farm should grow and took a

proportion of the produce, which was then used in the cities, such as Moscow.

In Uzbekistan, the average annual temperature is 40oC and the total

rainfall is less than 7 inches per year. In 1939 a large network of canals was

put in to irrigate the fields, so that crops could be grown in the area. This

meant that 60 hectares were won back from the desert, on which cotton was

grown. In 1913, ½ million tonnes of cotton were produced, but in 1940 this had

grown to 6 million tonnes, with Uzbekistan accounting for 70% of the USSR?s

total cotton output. With water being extracted from the Syr Dar?ya and Amu Dar?ya,

the amount of water running into the Aral Sea was greatly reduced. With

chemicals, both toxic and deadly, being used on the fields, these got into the

water supply and ran into the Aral Sea. This meant that the sea-level was

greatly reduced, but what was there was contaminated: The number of people

affected with Typhoid increased by twenty-eight times, while 83% of children

were affected by children, with breast milk contaminated with chemicals.

Fishing in the sea became extremely difficult with many people moving away, the

sea-level change meant that Muynak, a former seaside village, became 50km away

from the water?s edge. Thirty-four out of thirty-eight species of fishes also

died, with what was left, contaminated with chemicals. The people were

dependent on the water and with no clean water left, many people were forced to

move away: ?When the water ends, life ends.?In the 1980?s, Java was struggling with severe population

pressures and so to combat this, the government sent people from Java to the

outer islands, such as Kalimantan. With them, they sent seeds, farming

equipment and the opportunity to work with the natives and set up small farming

communities. As Kalimantan and other areas were covered in tropical rainforest,

in order to set up these communities clearing had to take place. The inevitable

result of this was deforestation covering a vast area of 152 million hectares. The role of subsidies in farming has come to the scenario

where farmers are dependent on subsidies. If subsidies were cut off, large farms

were continue to survive but by cutting costs, smaller farms would simply

struggle to even continue surviving. Agriculture is in a difficult spell at the

moment and without subsidies, there would simply be no money in the business.

The growth of organic farming has and will continue to lead to the

de-intensification of farming, whether this is viable, is still to be seen.

Farmers must make up the decision of the role of farming, they may feel that

they can continue if they become dependent on the government. However with a

disaster such as the foot-and-mouth crisis, there is no hope, and compensation

is the only thing that farmers can use to get them back on track. Without

government spending, farming would be in extreme danger of becoming distinct in

the UK and the future of agriculture is looking extremely shaky.Bibliography:Agriculture and Industry:???????????????????????????????? Neil

Punnett Geography:???????????????????????????????????????????????????? Liz

Hattersby Geography-An Integrated Approach:????????????? David Waugh British farming:??????????????????????????????????????????????? E.

S. Carter and J. M. Stansfield Agriculture and Food:????????????????????????????????????? Michael

Raw and Peter Atkins Geography of the World?s Major Regions:????? John Cole Countryfile:????????????????????????????????????????????????????? BBC Panorama:????????????????????????????????????????????????????? BBC Collective Farms:??????????????????????????????????????????? BBC GeoFactsheet:??????????????????????????????????????????????? Number

3 ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Number

57 Lifelines:????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? WWF-Summer

?98 Charterhouse Intranet???????????????????????????????????? R.A.



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