Not too sure what is considered real farming. Sometimes, I get the potted plants like basil and rosemary for my own cooking, so I can always have it on hand. Is that considered fake farming?
I can see the scene now, EF visits a 'farm show' in Englands deep west-country...
Farmer1 - I've got 12,000 acres of arable, mostly wheat and barley, and a flock of 250 sheep.
Farmer2 - I've got a 300-head dairy herd, 300 pigs and 1,000 laying hens. How about you EF?
EF: - Oh I've got a pot of basil, and a second of rosemary.
My father has always kept a vegetable garden. Useful during the 70s when the economy imploded, as it provided just about all the household vegetable needs [barring potatoes IIRC, as they were cheap as chips, even then, plus growing them takes up a great deal of space]. But he'd never have referred to himself as a 'farmer' in any shape or form. I'd define a farmer as someone for whom it's their sole occupation, as IME you can't be a part time one - cows don't tolerate days off
. I think it also requires scale such that you are producing crops/products for commercial sale.
I also don't believe in propping up unfeasible business models via govt. subsidies. However, I would make one big exception for the farming industry.
The difficulty is that a country has a responsibility to it's people to guarantee it's long-term food supply (there's a parallel with water in SG). You can't just 'open a farm' and be yielding crops etc in a flash. So if there's a bumper harvest in say the US or EU, such that import prices undercut the local production cost, you've got a threat to your longer term domestically produced food supply, as some farmers will go under, and they tend never to come back. That is why there is what is effectively 'guaranteed minimum pricing' plus the guarantee of the state being the buyer (or buyer of last resort) on several products.
This usually seems to work pretty well, though there have been peculiarities like the 1970s 'butter mountain' when way more butter than the market required was being produced and 'bought in' by the state, and it ended up with a ridiculously huuuuuge surplus of something like 3 years demand. That was back when some clever inventor devised a machine that turned molten butter + milk = cream, fresh cream itself being a luxury product back then.
earthfriendly wrote:Farming is financially unrewarding. Very much so.
There's an expression back home 'You'll never meet a poor farmer'. And you don't. They do tend to pretend they don't make much but I can assure you it's a myth. Most of them have nil or microscopic housing costs (a lot of UK farmers are life-tenants of the Crown), and a lot of stuff gets expensed (the Range Rovers, the new front drive, to the new stone-built double garage).
earthfriendly wrote:A farmer would be toiling 12 hours a day while an engineer working on the iphone project could be making 20 times (????) more given the same hours put it. I can live without iphones, ipad and iwatch. But I cannot survive without food.
Well it varies by season, but I'd suggest 12hrs would be a short day. Certainly during harvest they're at it 20hrs/day, lest it rains. Dairy farmers seem to be up at c4am preparing to get the herd in and might knock-off at say 7pm. It is an exceptionally demanding job, in hours but physically as well. That is why despite many of my closest schoolfriends being farmers sons, IIRC only one of them took up the right to take over his fathers tenancy and farm. Most people these days are simply not cut out for that kind of job-for-life. A parallel might be me offering you a guaranteed six-figure salary [nice!] to work as a futures pit-trader, BUT on the condition you have to sign-up for your entire working life [no way!]...
earthfriendly wrote:When we move away from the basics in life, it can be problematic. Priorities.............
Says you an posh expat sitting in SG in your lux home on your shiny new PC. Maybe you should give it all up, and return home to live in a tree... or wigwam, or summink?