Posted: 13/03/2013 at 10:07
Hi GG - two of your recent comments/points puzzle me a bit. Why should any land which is privately owned become "accessible as a leisure amenity for others"? Although a public footpath crosses my land, I don't consider it to be public property. I own it. I bought it. It's mine. Folks can - and may - cross it, on the footpath, but I don't agree with the idea that it's a "leisure amenity" for them! The farmer who rents it from me wouldn't be too pleased either if people allowed their dogs/children to run around annoying and upsetting the cattle when they are grazing there during the summer months, and neither would I!
The other point you made about only 10% of our farming potential is utilised puzzles me too. Just exactly what did you mean by that? I suppose it might just be that the majority of the total acreage/land area which the UK consists of is not actually put to farming use because it's mountain/forest etc. and therefore unsuitable for arable or dairy farms, but there are lots of folk who use hillside/mountainous areas for sheep, so I can't quite see where your "10% of the potential" comes from, given that parts of the landscape simply couldn't be "farmed" anyway. The changes to farming in my lifetime (my Pa was a very successful farmer) have been astonishing, not only as regards efficiency and productivity but also as regards the attitudes of people who are in authority but know virtually nothing about what it takes to make a living from the land. I still have some connections - somewhat tenuous now perhaps - with the farming industry, and am saddened by the fact that my neighbour cannot now compete with what you'd call "the major players" when it comes to milk production, the income (loss, in his case) from which is driven by the major supermarkets' ever-increasing pressures to bring down the price on the supermarket shelf to satisfy their customers.