Welsh Farmers Are The Canary In The Net Zero Coal Mine


There are demonstrations in Cardiff. Ministers are being pelted with food. And there are marchers with banners complaining that traditional livelihoods are under threat.

Welsh nationalists and the Labour establishment would probably prefer that it was the English, and the wicked Tories, who were facing a wave of popular protests.

But the action by farmers across Wales is directed at the devolved administration, and against its reckless imposition of fanatical net zero rules. [emphasis, links added]

Just like their counterparts across Europe, these farmers are quite right to take on a remote, out-of-touch elite, one that is obsessed with climate virtue-signalling and ignorant of how ordinary people make a living.

And while it may have started in Wales, it may soon spread elsewhere, and beyond farming.

The protests that have rocked France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, which saw Paris blockaded by tractors and Brussels under siege from burning bales of hay, were always likely to wash up in the UK at some point.

The EU has imposed an endless series of rules and targets on farmers that have made it virtually impossible for them to produce food with any hope of a reasonable profit margin.

The UK may have left the bloc, but the devolved administration in Wales appears determined to punish agriculture with the same missionary zeal as their former colleagues across the Channel.

Its post-Brexit Sustainable Farming Scheme may soon impose a series of unrealistic targets on anyone unlucky enough to work the land for a living.

There are proposals that 10pc or more of land should be planted with trees, regardless of the cost; restrictions on the use of certain fertilizers, even though they are often crucial to actually making crops grow; and demands that huge chunks of land are set aside for “sustainable wildlife”.

It is hard to see how those kinds of costs can be met. Welsh farmers are not, by any standards, wealthy.

The average farm, according to 2021-22 data from the Welsh government, has a turnover of just £45,000; for cattle and sheep farms in lowland areas, it is just £26,000. The profit margins are wafer-thin, or non-existent, while the work is hard.

There may be some nutty fringe elements to their campaign, and some wild conspiracy theories being thrown around, but the Welsh farmers have a fair point.

The ecological standards imposed by the Welsh Assembly are even more extreme than anything Brussels has tried and will make it impossible for them to earn a living from the land.

The root cause of the crisis is the same in Wales as it is across the rest of Europe.

An increasingly out-of-touch and unaccountable political and administrative class is more interested in showing off their commitment to “sustainability than figuring out how farmers can make a reasonable profit while preserving the natural landscape at the same time.

It turns out that it does not make much difference whether it is Brussels or Cardiff imposing the rules. The outcome is the same.

Families that have often worked the same land for generations get crushed by rules designed by people who seem to know little about their way of life, or have little regard for whether they can survive financially.

Top image via Channel 4 News/YouTube screencap

Read rest at The Telegraph

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