Letter to Times about grants for '.. not raising pigs ..'
The old ones are still the best ...
Not a question - but nevertheless an amusing letter and pertinent now that David Miliband is in the news
Rt. Hon. David Miliband, M.P.,
Secretary of State,
Dept. for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
17, Smith Square,
London SW1P 3JR.
16 May 2007.
Dear Secretary of State,
A friend, who is in farming at the moment, has recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs and I would like to join the ‘not rearing pigs’ business.
In your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to rear pigs on, and which is the best breed of pig not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy. I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many farmers not rearing these already?
As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of just how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?
My friend is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best annual return he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1978; that is, until this year, when he received your cheque for £3,000 for not rearing any.
If I were to get £3,000 for not rearing fifty pigs, will I be entitled to £6,000 for not rearing a hundred? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. However, as I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to, say, 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4 million from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gases?
Another point: these pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers not to grow crops, so will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals in order not to feed the pigs I don’t rear?
In order to diversify, I am also considering the ‘not milking cows’ business, so please send any information leaflets you have on that too, please. Would you also include the current DEFRA advice on set-aside fields? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis of ‘virtual’ fields of which I seem to have several thousand hectares?
In view of the above, you will realise that I shall be totally unemployed and will, therefore, qualify for unemployment benefits over and above the monies that I shall receive from DEFRA’s Rural Payments Agency.
I shall, of course, be voting for your party at the next General Election.
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