Television did not paint full picture of farming support

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EDITOR – I too watched Panorama on March 6 and it was good to see that it was true to form in not painting the full picture of farming support payments (“We are not all suffering”, letters to the editor, 21 March).

The bit they got wrong this time was to suggest, yet again, that farmers are paid money for doing nothing.

The true fact is that monies paid to farmers are to provide a more stable income and to help them compete in world markets where production costs are much lower than in the EU.

Prices for wheat or beef might be higher now, but for many years, it was costing us more to grow and produce food than we were being paid for it.

And as prices rise, so, unfortunately do the costs of production: we all know how expensive fuel is.

About 8 million farmers across the EU receive support payments and in this country, the rules of receiving them mean that farmers have to keep their land in good environmental condition; we’re looking after the landscape that everyone loves.

Is the money well spent, and the question of whether it goes to large landowners, is always going to be asked. Sutton Estates, at Stainton le Vale, one of the names mentioned in the Panorama programme, has spent huge amounts of money, time and effort in running a large commercial farm and an environmental haven side by side.

If anyone wants to question whether money is used appropriately on large estates, then visit this farm in Lincolnshire on Open Farm Sunday (June 17), it will simply leave you astonished at what has been achieved.

Jonathan Brant

Farmer and NFU National Council Delegate for Lincolnshire

Normanby le Wold