Dairy farmers selling milk for less than it costs to produce How does that work?

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  • Dairy farmers selling milk for less than it costs to produce How does that work?
  • Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Well here’s a fact: French food, ordinary food-in-the-shops food, is **** GREAT compared to the same stuff here. I’d challenge anyone to a blind taste test of, say, two supermarket tomatoes, one here, one in France. I’m confident the French tomato would win that taste test 95% of the time, and the other 5% would be people who like tomatoes that taste mainly of water.

    Supermarket research (in the UK) dictates that people want perfect looking fruit & veg and thats what they serve up.

    Here in Oz we get both, but we have to go to proper fruit & veg shops to get tasty stuff.

    The supermarket’s wield the power in the mix, the deliver what people say they want and tell the producers what they need. Who would produce something that buyers (supermarkets) wont buy.

    char34
    Member

    dairy farmers and fresh food farmers get ripped off left right and centre its down to supermarkets,
    same as in fresh produce worked on a organic food farm(we quite a few and dairy farms , waterwell engineer) and the amont of waste is staggering take cabage .their are mountain upon montain of cabage roting away because supermarkets want a specific size (plam sized)not just cabage all fresh food, the resone supermarkets tell us its what the housewife wants(bull****) its so a family can only get 1 meal out of the cabage so you have to buy anouther
    buy at local markets and support your local farmers , that is if you csn find a market near you allmost all gone now, again down to big fat asda , tesco’s and the like

    piemonster
    Member

    Well here’s a fact: French food, ordinary food-in-the-shops food, is **** GREAT compared to the same stuff here.

    You may wish to get some shopping trips in quick.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9612225/Number-of-obese-people-in-France-doubles-to-seven-million.html

    The government blamed the obesity epidemic on junk food, calling for talks with the industry on improving the contents and packaging of ready-to-eat meals.

    piemonster
    Member

    This might have already been discussed by someone else but i’m not reading it all. Subsidies should be removed from the system as they create bad farming practices in NZ they removed it 20 odd years a go and all the bad farmers packed in and the good farmers flourished, they should do that here and let the bad farmers stop.

    I’m curious about how the money for subsidies is found. I mean, if I’m paying for the subsidy through taxation. What’s the point of the subsidy? Why not pay the actual price at point of purchase.

    Is it simply a case of remaining competitive with cheaper imports as it appears to be?

    piemonster
    Member

    Cooking meals is not hard IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT. If you don’t, it’s a mystery.

    Just because you don’t know how to do something doesn’t make it hard. I’ve just started learning piano.

    I didn’t know C Major scale, I now do. At no point was it hard. #strawmanalert?

    That said, Beethovens Fur Elise looks a little tricky, depends on the context. But I firmly place boiling seasoned spuds at the c major scale end if difficult that’s for sure.

    I think, aside from not knowing. The biggest obstacle to learning basic cooking skills are cultural obstacles. People’s behaviour can be influenced in pretty significant ways by those around them. The church beer twitter map kind of illustrates this.

    living happily on burgers and chips.

    This makes my inner food snob sad.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    I really dont get why you do this.

    devils advocate innit, probably best not to bring this up on a religion thread tho eh? 🙂

    It’s something I used to do a lot, nowadays I have trouble remembering/arguing my own position so I’ve got no chance of defending someone else’s.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Just because you don’t know how to do something doesn’t make it hard

    It can do. There is no absolute scale of difficulty.

    Anyway the point is that cooking is a skill, like speaking French. Millions of French people manage it without thinking, but it’s still something to learn and can be hard for some people.

    Same with cooking. To a lot of people, food IS oven chips etc, that’s what they’ve been brought up on, that’s it. When you cook, you bring a whole load of skills into play that you don’t even realise, just like you do when you speak English. To many people, learning to cook basic foods and learning how to assemble basic foods into a dish is a skill they don’t have, and must be learned. And that, to some, is too much effort.

    Now you may decide to deride these pepole, that’s up to you. But they exist, and in large numbers.

    I do cook, but I’m not that great at it. I can cook some food quickly, but I can’t do what the likes of Jamie Oliver do and make really appetising food in minutes. A lot of what I cook requires planning and forethought, which is why it often doesn’t get done.

    devils advocate

    It’s because I want people to understand different points of view other than their own.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    piemonster – Member
    What’s the point of the subsidy?

    partly, to protect farmers against fluctuations in productivity/prices.

    example: maybe you’ve got 200 acres of wheat – you can lose the lot in 5mins of dodgy weather (heavy rain, hail, etc.).

    with subsidies, you won’t go bust, you’ll survive to have another go next year…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I mean, if I’m paying for the subsidy through taxation. What’s the point of the subsidy? Why not pay the actual price at point of purchase.

    As above – if you pay less tax because you are a low earner, you are getting subsidised food.

    Junkyard
    Member

    is a skill they don’t have, and must be learned. And that, to some, is too much effort.

    That is the key issue they cannot be bothered rather than it is beyond them.
    Yes some folk are lazy, some may struggle initially but everyone can learn to cook.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    That is the key issue they cannot be bothered

    It’s not always laziness. Some people don’t have the time or spare mental capacity to learn something new. Same as I am not learning Chinese for example.

    That is the key issue they cannot be bothered rather than it is beyond them.

    I reckon spending a day or two at a school in a deprived area would be a real eye opener for you. What about people who cannot read a cook book? Dont having anything other than the most basic of kitchen equipment.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I’m curious about how the money for subsidies is found. I mean, if I’m paying for the subsidy through taxation. What’s the point of the subsidy? Why not pay the actual price at point of purchase

    The eu stipulates a huge amount of regulation to protect consumers. To administer there schemes costs money. We can track each cow and it’s entire family now which is why we were able to track be in the later stages. Abbitoirs have to meet strict standards etc. The amount of paperwork required is huge but it adds value to eu produce. The rest of the world doesn’t and can do whatever it likes. This allows them to undercut eu producers but not meet any standards.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Is this the same thing Mike? The EU may or may not have better standards than RoW (not sure that is 100% true but ok) but the quota system does not reflect that IMO. The whole system was bought in with a very clear objective – to limit EU milk production. Quotas are very simple – they are a (relatively) heavy penalty for overproduction. I am not aware of any EU documentation that outlines any other objectives such as consumer protection. It would be interesting to see where that is?

    Junkyard
    Member

    I reckon spending a day or two at a school in a deprived area would be a real eye opener for you.

    What another day in one – do the previous years count for nothing?
    FWIW I have been involved in a programme getting poor deprived folk to eat properly [ 5 fruit and veg etc]so yes it is not easy. However the issue is not that cooking is too hard or beyond them, it is that they choose easier , though oddly more expensive and less healthy, alternatives.

    What about people who cannot read a cook book? Dont having anything other than the most basic of kitchen equipment

    Make simpler stuff.

    Its the usual STW polarised where both sides have some merits. Yes some do face insurmountable barriers but they are the exception rather than the norm IME – Ie cooking is beyond only very few people.

    I am not aware of any EU documentation that outlines any other objectives such as consumer protection

    Banning of hormones ?
    It wont be that hard to find examples tbh though the prime reason may well be as you say [ i dont know enought to comment]

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    do the previous years count for nothing?

    You tell us 🙂

    However the issue is not that cooking is too hard or beyond them, it is that they choose easier , though oddly more expensive and less healthy, alternatives.

    I still think that learning how to make simple tasty food, planning for it, and getting your kids to eat it is harder than simply buying frozen pizzas and chips.

    Make simpler stuff.

    Cooking itself is easy, but you take basic knowledge for granted. For example, scrambled eggs is easy, but I know exactly how much heat to give it on my stove and when to take it off the heat. How do I know? Cos I’ve cooked eggs many times and I’ve learned how they react and what to look for.

    I have never boiled an egg, however, but when my daughter asked for one it took me three or four goes to get something that wasn’t a mess. I also know how to quickly chop vegetables, I know how to plan my chopping to minimise the mess and workload of cleaning up, I know how long to cook them for so that the kids will eat them, I know when to start stuff so it’s all ready at the same time and doesn’t go cold, etc etc. I’ve picked this up over the years, starting when I was a student.

    The first meal I ever cooked as a student was inedible. I didn’t know that stewing steak needs an hour and a half of simmering, for example. It looked done after 10 minutes. I spent a few years learning all this stuff when I was single, and had the time.

    If you live in a home where pie and chips is the norm, then you get pregnant at 17 and your folks throw you out, so you’ve got to provide for a bloke and a baby on very little money, it takes a fair bit of effort to start learning to cook. It is not as simple as throwing a few things in a pot and eating them in 5 minutes. However cooking frozen meals IS as simple as putting them in the microwave and eating them 4 mins later.

    You are not very good at putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, Junkyard, that’s why I ‘do this’ as you put it.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    JY – I meant in relation to quotas. The EU has done good things with standards but that is a different issue IMO.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Thm it is different but part of the same thing. Outside of the eu sow stalls are allowed hormones are and much more. The eu has quota schemes and subsidiaries both of which help to maintain an eu farming industry. Having seen first hand good British farming I would have only problem paying full price just plenty would. The whole system needs reform but also needs import bans which are hard to get in multilateral trade terms. Someone mentioned nz earlier it’s easier down under to ban and refuse entry hence protect your local producers. It’s hard to get British beef here in Oz.

    ormondroyd
    Member

    You may wish to get some shopping trips in quick.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9612225/Number-of-obese-people-in-France-doubles-to-seven-million.html

    Hmm, from that article:

    That means that 15 per cent of the French population is now obese and 32.3 per cent overweight.

    From the NHS:

    A survey published in 2012 found that just over a quarter of all adults (26%) in England are obese.

    15% vs 26%? I rest my case about French food.

    joemarshall
    Member

    Well here’s a fact: French food, ordinary food-in-the-shops food, is **** GREAT compared to the same stuff here. I’d challenge anyone to a blind taste test of, say, two supermarket tomatoes, one here, one in France. I’m confident the French tomato would win that taste test 95% of the time, and the other 5% would be people who like tomatoes that taste mainly of water.

    French fruit and veg at a good market is quite good and well priced, French fruit and veg at a good greengrocers also quite good, French fruit and veg at supermarkets, not that different to ours, and so so expensive it isn’t funny. They also have a lot of absolute rubbish that they just sell because it is French and their smaller supermarkets appear to get very infrequent deliveries of veg.

    It certainly used to be the case that UK supermarkets were rubbish for fruit and veg in comparison, but nowadays, there isn’t much difference; French supermarkets have got worse, and UK ones have got much better. Maybe there are a few of the super-supermarkets around, but certainly the intermarché/carrefour or whatever big supermarkets in every town are not that different to your average UK one.

    Oh, and oddly enough, our Morrisons got refurbished and has suddenly gone from being the pie and crisps supermarket to having a massive array of high quality fruit and veg, which are really fresh and surprisingly good quality. They also have nice things like a wide selection of fresh herbs and fresh garlic when it is in season. The only time I’ve seen anything like it was in a super expensive and very upmarket supermarket near Lake Tahoe in the USA, but this is Morrisons, so everything is relatively cheap.

    joemarshall
    Member

    Also, I cooked a decent dal with a mixture of interesting lentils and spinach, with an aubergine curry and rice for our family dinner on Monday. Took me just over an hour (ignoring washing up). Which I was able to do, because a)I worked from home, b)I’m pretty flexible, so I could just do some more work after Rose was in bed, and c)I made enough for 2 nights, so no cooking on Tuesday, so worked out at 30 minutes cooking per day which isn’t so bad.

    But ignoring the fact that cooking this stuff requires skill, equipment, and a load of cook books (or at least the ability to work from internet recipes), for most people with kids and less flexible jobs, if you pick up your kids at 5pm, you need a dinner by 5:30 to 6ish, there is no way you’d have the time to put together an elaborate curry, rice and dal that is tasty and nice when if you’re using anything other than basic red lentils (other lentils take way longer to cook, 45 minutes or so for the mixture I was using). Not to mention that if you add up all the spices we have, the cost of getting together what is in our store cupboard in the first place is not that cheap, even bought in big bags from the Indian shop.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Morrisons got refurbished and has suddenly gone from being the pie and crisps supermarket to having a massive array of high quality fruit and veg

    My closest one is Asda, and in almost every way it is a Chav Emporium of the highest order, down to the really loud awful pop music on the PA and the huge crisps, sweets and pop section. However it’s also really good for local produce, we can get eggs from a choice of farms with their address printed on the box which are within 10 miles, likewise dairies for the milk, butter and really good cheese. Not much local fruit and veg in there now though, must’ve been a bad year. Much of it is from abroad.

    konabunny
    Member

    As above – if you pay less tax because you are a low earner, you are getting subsidised food.

    Pfft, that’s a stretch! You’d have to make all sorts of assumptions about income tax, the total rate of income paid as tax, the proportion of subsidies +\- in food prices, the proportion of income spent on food…

    In any case, that would assume that EU prices are below the world prices that would otherwise be charged if there were a free market in agricultural products. Is that actually the case for all products? If so, how many? And what proportion are they of total groceries spend?

    Premier Icon oldagedpredator
    Subscriber

    neilc1881 please remove yourself from this place. That’s far too much sense on farming.

    Junkyard
    Member

    You tell us 😀

    Chapeau

    JY – I meant in relation to quotas. The EU has done good things with standards but that is a different issue IMO.

    Ta and sorry for confusion

    tinribz
    Member

    What’s the point of the subsidy? Why not pay the actual price at point of purchase.

    Is it simply a case of remaining competitive with cheaper imports as it appears to be?

    Yes its about staying competitive but other consequences too. Food prices wouldn’t go up it would just get imported and uk farmers would go out of business. There’s a massive secondary agri industry, rural jobs are the most difficult to replace, land would go to rack and ruin, imported food of questionable quality and husbandry, money spent on food (think how much) going straight out the country. Also politically not being able to feed ourselves (or regulate) was/is considered a scary prospect.

    Subsidies started as buying produce(remember butter mountains and wine lakes) and paying per head maintained to artificially raise prices. Result not surprisingly was increased production and vicious circle. Now they just finished the transition to area based under the provision you farm sustainably (if you want to) but always maintain land in good condition. A large proportion is also given in grants for diversifying or organic and the like.

    Re dairy, don’t know much about that but I always thought a quota was a limiter. You don’t get subsidy for it, rather you get a levy unless you have a quota. Would guess dairy farmers make cash & subsidy from selling the calves that keep the mothers milking. The horror of it all.

    tcairns
    Member

    Remember that farmers do not dictate their own prices for the products grown/reared….if you built a table you would charge the customer for the materials, time spent and a bit of profit…farmers produce food and have no control on the price they are paid, this is decided by the buyer and world markets. Most farmers would not chose to have to rely on subsidies but be paid a fair price for what they produce.

    As said, subsidies are not paid on production of food anymore (as was needed after the 2nd world war) but on land area and now a lot of the EU money goes towards countryside stewardship schemes to enhance and preserve the flora and fauna of the English landscape.

    Please don’t tar all farmers with the same brush and always buy British……

    piemonster
    Member

    For example, scrambled eggs is easy, but I know exactly how much heat to give it on my stove and when to take it off the heat.

    Until it looks like how you want it.

    Are you at risk of over thinking something.

    Get hob, stick stuff on, heat it, keep an eye on it, when it’s done eat it. That’s pretty much how I do scrambled egg. There is no “exactly” involved.

    To be honest, you can prepare and eat a reasonably healthy meal in far less time than it takes to cook a frozen pizza.

    Potatoes, boil em. Salted.
    Add salad, smoked fish, seeds, cheese, dressing etc. done.

    My dad is a 5th gen farmer and has bust his ass to keep the farm going since he dropped out of college to take over when his dad died. Makes a living, but i’d hate to figure out the hourly rate! The business does pay for the roof over his head, so that ofcourse helps…
    On the other hand, I know a farmer who recently bought a brand new Beech King Air…. I guess that’s the difference between having 90 cows and having over 36,000 😯

    konabunny
    Member

    Food prices wouldn’t go up it would just get imported and uk farmers would go out of business. There’s a massive secondary agri industry, rural jobs are the most difficult to replace, land would go to rack and ruin, imported food of questionable quality and husbandry, money spent on food (think how much) going straight out the country.

    That’s just the normal protectionist argument though – food buyers should pay more so that food makers can stay in business. Why food and not pharmaceuticals, petrol, accountants, cameras…and bikes?

    tinribz
    Member

    Mathematically – the industry is worth about 80B to the UK, but subsidies are only about 2B or 3B.

    Morally – The third world would export all their food to Europe for better prices leaving the locals to starve.

    Not sure bike production would result in similar consequences.

    konabunny
    Member

    But the cost of protectionism isn’t just the subsidy, it’s the higher prices paid by buyers and the diversion of resources to lower-value uses.

    Equally, the stitching up of developed markets means that farmers in developing countries can’t export their stuff, can’t invest in production, and can’t develop in rural areas. It keeps poor people poor.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    konabunny wrote:

    But the cost of protectionism isn’t just the subsidy, it’s the higher prices paid by buyers and the diversion of resources to lower-value uses.
    Equally, the stitching up of developed markets means that farmers in developing countries can’t export their stuff, can’t invest in production, and can’t develop in rural areas. It keeps poor people poor.

    Yep and ensures that the UK (or whatever country you live in) retains the ability to feed itself. It also means you retain quality control and some sense of what you actually eat. It also gives you control over welfare standards of the animals used in meat & dairy. If none of these things matter then buy the cheapest horse meat lasagne and e-coli ridden meal you can safe in the knowledge that the animals were probably suffered a hell of a lot.

    A lot of people should have a go at farming, might bring some perspective.

    konabunny
    Member

    the UK (or whatever country you live in) retains the ability to feed itself.

    It can’t, though – the domestic production of food is like every other industry – it’s dependent on an impossibly complex global supply chain of everything. There’s no food production without fuel, packaging, machinery, transportation, data and labour – all of which is sourced, bought and sold across borders.

    I’ll come with you on the animal welfare stuff, though, so we’ll leave meat and fish out of it.

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