Wednesday, 2 December 2009

EU / DEFRA Non-Farming Agriculture

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
Secretary of State.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA),
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London. SW1P 3JR
30th November 2009

Dear Secretary of State,

My friend Old McDonald, who’s family have been farmers since the dawn of time, recently received a cheque for £3,000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing 50 pigs.

In light of this fortuitous commercial opportunity I too would now like to sign up for the all-new E-USSR / DEFRA-funded / subsidised "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 pigs not to rear?
I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the E-USSR under the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is 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 people already not rearing these?

As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven't reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this?

My friend McDonald is very satisfied with this business. He has been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was £1,422 in 1968. That is - until this year, when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

If I get £3,000 for not rearing 50 pigs, will I get £6,000 for not rearing 100?
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.

As I become more proficient in the art of 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?

One further point - these pigs that I plan not to rear obviously will not eat 2,000 tonnes of cereals.
As I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops, will I qualify for DEFRA subsidies for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don't rear?

I am also considering the "not milking cows" business, so please send any information you have on that too.

Further could you also please include the current DEFRA advice on ‘set aside / lying fallow arable fields’? Can this be done on an e-commerce basis with virtual fields on Facebook (of which I seem to have several thousand hectares)?

In view of the above you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and thus qualify for Jobseekers allowance and related benefits.

I shall of course be voting for your party at the next general election.

Yours sincerely,

Ploughman Pete

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