Commercial farmers against the home grower

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

First it was the claim by the farming lobby that allotment holders and home growers growing potatoes were the cause of the blight in 2012 and now the attack goes against those keeping chickens in their backyard for eggs.

The recent upsurge in the old-fashioned “grow your own” and keeping of hens for eggs is hitting the commercial farmer in the pocket already and they fear worse so they have to resort, it would appear, to scaremongering.

The Potato Council of the UK, the body representing the commercial potato farmer, accused amateur gardeners and allotment holder of spreading the fungal blight, the very same disease that caused the Irish Potato Famine, in the summer of 2012.

Obviously it would have to be the grow-your-own gardener who would have to be blamed for this. It could not possibly be the industrial farmers with their supposed blight resistant potatoes.

It was blight resistant potatoes that were the ones that, in my garden, were the first to get the blight and then infected a couple of other plants. As far as I would guess the blight resistant potatoes are far from resistant and we would all do best to use old varieties.

Now it is people who keep a couple of hens in the backyard for egg that are coming under attack by the commercial producers – and once again aided and abetted by the Daily Mail in the UK – and are being held responsible for diseases in poultry.

Obviously amateurs and those very small flocks in back gardens are a disease threat to the large commercial flocks. The way they are being kept apparently not, however.

What we are seeing here, in my opinion, is a backlash by the faming industry, and their lobby and representing bodies, against grow-your-own as it undermines the farming industry's profits.

Eggs you can get from you own eggs means you don't have to buy them and the same goes for vegetables, etc. and if more and more people are doing it the farming industry will lose profit.

Hence those that represent the farming industry will use everything at their disposal – and the Daily Mail will always oblige in this department, it would appear – to make backyard hens and allotment and veg plot potatoes responsible for diseases.

The question now is going to be what will be responsible for what next. Maybe it was Ash trees in private gardens that we even the cause of Ash die back disease. I am sure that industry and the Daily Mail will soon be able to construct a case here.

© 2012