We’re now nearly three decades from the bad old days when farming was governed by subsidies.
Farmers in other parts of the world haven’t made the tough but necessary change to standing on their own feet.
Among them are the Welsh whose reliance on subsidies is behind their plea for Britain to stay in the European Union:
Welsh farming could be ruined if the UK leaves the European Union and its common market, warned Farmers’ Union of Wales president Emyr Jones.
Speaking at a FUW lunch at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (30 January), Mr Jones said 80% of Welsh farm income was dependent on payment support from the European Union and access to EU markets, a sum worth up to half a billion pounds. . .
Market access from free trade among member states is one of the EU’s strengths but political union isn’t the only way to get rid of trade barriers.
The subsidies are one of its big weaknesses.
Subsidies encourage inefficient farming, add costs to both tax payers and consumers, and blind producers to market signals.
Farmers here used to be heavily subsidised. The abrupt introduction to the real world by the reforms of the 1980s was painful but necessary and no good farmer would want to go back to the bad old days.