Dairy crisis: as corporations get millions in subsidy, ‘cleverer and richer’ economist Sean Rickard focusses on the small farmer

A Devon farmer wrote, after reading the latest on a linked site, “Did you hear Sean Rickard say that the average subsidy payment is £28,000?”

“At 80 ha I used to have the average sized farm, it may be a little more now. Last year we got £15k+. Stewardship brings it up, but not to £28k, and we have more stewardship than most.

“We all know the BBC is biased in favour of big business, but . . . I dare not challenge him in the press as he is cleverer than me, and richer, and would no doubt manage to prove he was correct”.

sean rickard (2)Many media outlets reported that Sean Rickard (left) told Radio 4’s Farming Today that dairy farmers were paid an average of £28,000 a year from the taxpayer, the Evening Times was one such paper. The farmer wondered whether he was lying.

He was not – just correctly assuming that most people don’t know the mathematical significance of the term ‘average’.

In common parlance, the average amount would mean that which most people would receive. Mathematically it means the total of all subsides paid out, divided by the number of recipients- a very different amount.

Rickard misled readers by failing to point out that many millions are paid to large landowners and corporates – see more information by clicking on the link to the table below. That is what brings the average up.

subsidy 13 - 2

Our Devon farmer, in a farm ‘larger than many’, gets just over HALF of the amount highlighted by Rickard.

That is for environmental care given and, as our Lancashire farmer pointed out, to cover the shortfall in prices received which are below the costs of production.

Professor Gorringe, University of Exeter, in ‘The Common Good and the Global Emergency’ (albeit in 2011) said:


In fact farmers appear to be subsidising highly paid supermarket and processor executives – and their shareholders.


Posted on August 13, 2015, in Conflict of interest, Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Economy, Environment, EU, Finance, Government, Imports, Inequality, Media, MPs, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Taxpayers' money, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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