On Tue, 26 Oct 1999 08:27:58 +0200, Hayo van der Werf wrote:
>Obviously you do not really know the facts. In the past the system of
>subsidies in the European Union was linked to production, and it caused
>overproduction [snip]. Currently the move is ## toward ## payments not
>linked to production but to farmed area and environmental performance. The
>idea is that these subsidies will provide for functions other than the
>production of food and fibres, so for things such as improvement or
>maintenance of landscape quality and water quality, employment in rural
>zones, maintenance of family farms etc.
I wrote Hayo more extensively off-list. A move *towards* is a long way
from getting there. I suspect most farmer are more interested in
growing food than in becoming landscape architects. France, especially,
has been pushed hard by other nations to move away from production
subsidies. Many French farmers, especially the bigger ones, want to
maintain the status quo.
On Tue, 26 Oct 1999 07:40:27 -0500, Jim Worstell wrote:
>What would you like rural America to look like?
>What portion of the world looks most like that?
>Ergo, we should try to emulate the policies and approach of that part of the
>world [meaning France]
The Dutch example may be more pertinent, as the Dutch seem to be far
more market oriented than most other Europeans. The Dutch use of land
is generally quite beautiful.
Let us remember, however, the difference in size and population density
between Europe and places like the Americas and Australia. No less, the
long time the land has been cultivated. I once talked with a farmer in
Germany who said his family had tilled that land since the 9th Century.
Land care of necessity must be different under intensive regimes than
under extensive ones such as those in the New World.
My core belief, however, is that subsidies distort the agri-food
economy to the degree that sustainability becomes vastly more elusive.
On Tue, 26 Oct 1999 08:40:45 -0400, Hal Hamilton wrote:
>there's a growth of support for local high-quality food. Those farmers who
>produce the high quality food wouldn't be there, however, without subsidies.
>I hate to acknowledge it, but the Swiss and French Jura, where some of the
>best cheese in the world is made, would be depopulated without subsidies.
If the demand for such local high quality food is *real*, it will be
reflected in prices. If it is sustainable, subsidies will be
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