Grantham Journal column: There’s too much milk but it’s no cheaper, says Peter Clawson

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.
Share this article
Have your say

I knew it! I just knew the farmers would find some reason to claim that the perfect summer weather this year is costing them money they can ill afford.

Ever since I was born and bred in the country near Grantham, farmers have come up with ingenious excuses as to why the climate, for whatever reason, hits them in the pocket.

Especially where the possibility of government subsidies or increased prices are concerned.

This year, apparently, the problem is not brilliant sunshine shrivelling corn, rain rotting potatoes, a glut of fruit being ploughed into the fields to maintain prices, blight, disease or an impossible plague of pests like locusts.

Even increasing numbers of thefts of expensive machinery such as tractors, heavy plant and other vital equipment are not being blamed.

Solar flares? No! Floods? No! Drought? No! Air pollution? No! Unfair reaction to ‘green issues? No! The 2014 ‘fantasy’ is about milk; not a shortage of ‘white gold’ agricultural lifeblood, but too much of it due to irresponsible over-production.

Yes! Farmers are actually griping because our wonderful summer allowed them to over-produce milk on their supposedly hard-hit dairy farms, thus violating the well-known law of supply and demand, causing prices they are paid to fall.

Ironically, however, neither my wife nor any of her friends have noticed a corresponding drop in milk prices in local shops.

Funny that! Just like energy prices going up when costs decrease, likewise oil and other vital commodities in this increasingly profit-blighted economy.

So what about this for an idea? If farmers want subsidies for milk production, make the grants only available to those willing to donate surpluses to the ever-increasing number of food banks. Also make them attend government-sponsored classes on the ins and outs of the law of supply and demand which we lesser mortals have to endure.