So I was reading an article today in the German news about the reaons why German farmers were upset and on the streets demonstrating about changes in government policy. On further examination it seems that farmers are not necessarily angry about the policy changes; but more about the fact that they never seem to be consulted about policy change.
It is a strange industry to be in, Agriculture. Often farmers are considered by many to be poorly educated in the realms of business and the environment, or as being extremely wealthy privileged people who have mostly arrived at their workplace through inheritance. (I say this coming from a non farming townie childhood.) Farmers products are eaten or used by every person on the planet. Their methods of production effect every person on the planet. But in a bizarre twist of fate everything they do is controlled by people who have never been farmers, are not related to any farmers, may have little or no knowledge of the environment, and live often in cities or in very fancy houses in the country or both. There may be a little generalistion to my statements here for colour, but I suspect I am not too far from the truth.
To illustrate just one of many farmer problems.... "African Swine Fever", now present in Europe, has created a new level of health and safety regulations for pig farmers here in France, I can only refer to French regulations as I know they can differ slightly from country to country. We have been obliged to complete a days training with a trained governement vet, for which we get a certificate, or from another perspective a lost day at work. It included information regarding...
how much new fencing,
how high your new fence should be and how deep it should be buried,
what you need to fence,
how large your new electric fence equipment needs to be
which kind of pigs and other animals can go where on your property
how long your rotations need to be between animals
how many new clean sets of overalls and boots you need,
how to build your new facility for dead body collections,
how to clean your equipment
how many times you need to clean your equipment
how and what other people can enter your property and where they can park
how you should move and dress between each section of your pig facility
how to store and how long you can keep hay bales that will be only used for your pigs
how to drive your equipment between all the sections of your property
This list is lengthy and not complete but you get the idea. Now for all these changes that are imposed upon us by the government, who pays ? There is a grant system that you can apply for funding for up to 40% of the cost on some items.
To apply for a grant in France you have to get a quote, send the quote in to the local office, wait for acceptance, could be one or two months. Then you have to pay for all of the aterations yourself then you wait for a repayment which is about 4-6 months after the work is paid for. Our course was in December 2019. We have to make some of the changes by the end of January 2020. To give you an idea.... just to buy the electric box that powers the outdoor fencing is 650 euros.
Worm workings on ground used by grazing animals.
If your facility only has housed pigs I suspect many of the regulations may already be in place.If you have outdoor pigs then some of the requirements mean building things from scratch and changing your pig rearing system entirely, as reproducing pigs have different fencing requirements from young pigs. Consequently of the course that Gavin sat through of 13 people, 4 would give up pigs as the protocols and changes in system made it too expensive to carry on.
The first recorded case was in Portugal in 1985, it was controlled. It is not in this area of Europe yet.,but we still have to invest the money, just in case.
One of the more amusing changes was having to ring fence our hay barn to stop any other animals coming in. I wondered where we could hang the signs for the birds and flying animals to inform them they were entering a "No Fly Zone".
See you all soon
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I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area