"The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not mean all who were laughed at were geniuses. They laughed at Columbus. They laughed at Fulton. They also laughed at Bozo the clown." Carl Sagan
In week ended 5th January, the deadweight prime cattle average price levelled on the week at 365.0p/kg. read more
As domestic lamb continues to compete with increased volumes of cheaper imports and demand remains subdued, DW lamb prices eased in week ended 5th January. read more
World prices eased back towards the end of 2012 although remained at levels comparable to the same period in 2011. read more
Having shot to record levels during September and October, GB finished pig prices continued to rise in November and early December, albeit more slowly. read more
The GB weekly average price rose by £4.63/t to £227.93/t and the free-buy average fell by £4.45/t to £330.74/t. read more
Mid-January saw the release of much-anticipated information from the USDA in the form of world supply and demand estimates, US winter wheat plantings, final 2012 production estimates and quarterly stocks. read more
The USDA data set a bearish tone for oilseed markets with upward revisions to US and Brazilian crops. read more
UK malting barley export prices are at €245/t FOB (spring, South Coast) w/e 11th April. read more
The latest National Statistics produced by Defra on the activity of UK hatcheries and poultry slaughterhouses. read more
USDA’s latest quarterly stocks report, released on 28th September, estimated US maize stocks (at 1st September) at 25.1m t, down 12% on the same point in 2011 and the lowest since 2004. read more
CLA focuses on letting you manage your land
Property rights and the ability to manage your land are fundamental to managing every rural business, the CLA’s new president Harry Cotterell tells Chris Lyddon
“The fundamental purpose of the CLA is the protection of property rights,” says Harry Cotterell, new president of the CLA.
“Property rights run to the heart of every farming or rural business.
It’s more than just ownership, taxation and the big-picture stuff. It’s right down to the ability to do your own thing, what you’re trying to do to run your business, to make your living on the land.”
This can mean things such as diversification, planning, relations with the parish council, even down to wayleaves, footpaths and public access, he explains.
“Some of our bigger members think of the CLA as their principal trade organisation,” Mr Cotterell says. “They derive their living predominantly from agriculture. They may not be farming themselves and may be renting it [their land] out. They may be farming part of it. There may be all sorts of arrangements. At the end of the day that is a property rights issue.
“CLA membership is a difficult sale to make because people say we’re not right in at the farming side in the same way the NFU is or the FUW,” Mr Cotterell says. “But we certainly are involved in the issues that relate to the rights pertaining to the property, things like the CAP, regulation, cross-compliance and all that kind of stuff, all of which relates to property rights.
“People may be slow to join the CLA but once they join they don’t half stay with us. We have very few lapsed members.
“What we’re doing is protecting the value of their asset. The emphasis must be more on the protection of the value of the asset, and the ability to do with it what you want.
“We’ll be trying to protect the balance sheet rather than the P & L (profit and loss),” Mr Cotterell explains. “Obviously the P & L is important because it impacts on the balance sheet in the long-term.”
Political lobbying is the key to the CLA’s activities, and that is not just at national government level. “We lobby on every scale and at every level, from Europe where we do it in conjunction with our sister organisation the European Landowners Organisation (ELS), right down to the local district councils in two-tiered authorities.
“If you don’t understand the lobbying, you don’t understand the CLA.”
The CLA is also planning to bring out an equine policy. “A lot of agricultural businesses have got a little equine sideline,” Mr Cotterell points out. “That’s coming out probably in the New Year. Before that we’ve got a forestry and woodlands paper.
“When we’re proactive we’re at our best. You start with a blank piece of paper. You put it out there for other people to react to, and hopefully influence the way they form their opinions.”
Most of the reactive lobbying is trying to stave off additional levels of bureaucracy or restrictions on what property owners can do with their land.
“We live in a property owning democracy,” says Mr Cotterell. “There’s an instinctive move away from state ownership of anything.”
He is a firm believer that the private sector is the best way of operating land. “You only have to look around you. What nation has nationalised land and produced a vibrant and effective economic outcome? They don’t.
“The role of the state is to regulate. We would obviously like it to regulate less, and to try to stimulate the requirements of a successful economy. That includes the rural economy.
“It’s great to see this Government, for example, looking at reduction of regulation. The Regulatory Task Force, we wait to see how that will pan out. The vast majority of the recommendations were music to our ears.”
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