“Cow’s muck is more valuable than its milk”, said Mr Metcalfe a Yorkshire farmer. He is earning £50,000 a year, and saves £100,000, by generating electricity from the manure from his cows, which feeds an aerobic digestion plant, which turns it into biogas, which is then burnt to generate power. This power qualifies for subsidies, funded by energy bill-payers (you and me), under the Government’s “feed-in tariff” scheme.
However, the milk from his 900 dairy cows, is costing more to produce than the 20p a litre he receives. European milk production is now so high that supply is far higher than demand.
It has been suggested that if we stopped importing milk and dairy products, and re-instated the Milk Marketing Board, which would control the production of milk by British dairy farmers, they would then receive a sustainable and profitable income.
The public could then be guaranteed British milk with their cornflakes and cup of tea. However, as long as we remain within the European Union this will never happen, and we will continue to lose up to three British dairy farms each week.
Local Sussex dairy farmer Steve Hook, star of the 2013 film Moo Man which highlighted the plight of milk producers struggling to stay profitable, has turned to crowdfunding in an attempt to raise £300,000 to help keep his business going.
Steve is appealing to investors for cash, after losing 16ha of rented grazing land to developers. He needs to purchase some replacement land to remain in business. If successful, it will be the first privately run dairy farm in the country to use crowdfunded equity. Backers are invited to invest from £50 to £10,000, the share issue went live on 23 April. Let us hope Steve is successful with this project.
243 British businesses have received the Queen’s Award which recognises firms that have excelled in exporting, social or environmental good works, or innovation. These companies range from tiny start-ups to FTSE 100 giants.
This prestigious award can generate international recognition, and help companies win new business. This year seven businesses received awards for sustainable development, 92 for innovation and 150 for international trade.
As a nation our businesses and innovators are not standing still, they are creative, energetic and ambitious. As the opportunity for British companies to expand and trade globally opens up when we leave the European Union on 24 June, it will be these companies, and others not even dreamt about yet, that will prove Mr Osbourne’s predictions of a negative trade balance and GDP in 2030, to be somewhat excessive.
Ethiopia is in the grip of a drought, worse than in 1984. Two successive rainy seasons have failed, resulting in the loss of crops needed to feed the rural population and their cattle, leaving as many as 18 million Ethiopians in need of food aid. The drought has already killed up to 90 per cent of the crops in some areas, and at least a million cattle.
In recent years the national economy has been one of the fastest growing in the world, and there is a booming population of 90 million. However, three quarters of them depend entirely on agriculture for survival.
Aid organisations say that emergency food stocks could run out within weeks, and an estimated 430,000 children are expected to add to the numbers already suffering malnutrition. 11lbs of wheat are supplied to each family in the drought zone, which represents just a third of an average person’s nutritional requirement.
At a time when there is a global surplus of wheat, and arable farmers are struggling to cope with prices well below the cost of production, our International Aid Budget would be well spent buying up surplus wheat and transporting it to Ethiopia and other African nations.
This would direct Britain’s foreign aid away from convicted terrorists and wealthy dictators, and lining the pockets of private individuals, and instead support struggling British farmers by raising the global price of wheat. Surely the public would prefer to support our farmers and feed millions of Africans who are starving through no fault of their own.