More BBC misinformation

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Wed Jun 15 07:41:50 BST 2011



 to BBC Complaints




Dear Sirs,                                                          
15th June 2011



Following my complaint of yesterdays date , On Your Farm,
Farming Today etc 

Re today’s programme , Farming Today, 15th June 2011 ( Emma Weatherill)


Following my many disregarded complaints of over-dependence
by BBC  farming programmmes on N.F.U. contributors
I draw your attention to this programme.


One Jenny Bashford of NFU was interviewed about water
extraction by farmers.


Errors in the programme included.


First ,as stated “We” don’t have 8 billion to feed.  Perhaps this subject needs a little
explanation and justification on  BBC
farming programmes? Who is the “we” ?

What would be the implications if we accepted this?  Would NFU accept them? 

In fact Indian agriculturalists argue that EU and US
protection greatly contributes to starvation in India.     (Worthy of an FT Programme or two?)       


Second , farmers don’t grow ‘food’ only, as implied.  Should UK
wheat crops be sent to British Sugar plc to be turned into bio-fuels?  ……’farmers’ also raise pheasants and
partridge to shoot and  pasture some
900,000 ponies kept for leisure purposes – these acres classified as
‘agricultural land’ and CAP cheques are paid for this. 


Third the cost of three pea harvesters is given as
£1million.   But the  big landowning East Anglian farmers who grow
the peas get paid many £millions every
year,  via CAP cheques.  So ultimately UK
taxpayers are more involved than your interviewee.

If you mention a figure 
and suggest it is a cost to pea growers  you should also go on to  mention the greater amounts and identify who
pays for CAP.

(Do annual CAP cheques also fund the pea processing plant?)   


Uninvestigated and unqueried 
was the NFU stat. that farmers ‘only’ account for 3per cent  of water supplies in UK.

That’s a hoary old trick, a variation of the ‘air travel
accounts for ‘only’ one percent of carbon emissions.  




Farming Today programmes 
are characterized by sloppy journalism, 
with a lack of research, use of cliché ideas, dependence on an
interested farming lobby , and  lack of
investigative spark. 

FT Listeners who fund the CAP to the tune of £200 each
household each year  will want to  know that , and that they pay even more in CAP
- £3.9billion, than they do controversially to BBC for their licence fee –some


CAP is the big beast consuming British agriculture and until
FT give it extensive and detailed investigative coverage, and understand it,  producers will continue to fall into such
traps and be open to misleading output from NFU , the largest  and most powerful CAP lobby in Westminster
and Brussels.   

Otherwise  some might
think that  BBC take pains to hide the
cost of CAP, who gets paid, for what  and
who funds it .  This would not be
surprising since the CAP figures  don’t
appear in Annual Abstract of Statistics, are not available from Office of
National Statistics, don’t rate a mention in the annual Budget Review and are
apparently off limits for spending cuts. 


  Now there’s a story
for an informed  journalist with an
interest in agriculture  . 




Yours faithfully,


James Armstrong

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