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strategic issues in agriculture

January 9, 2010 by Dr Roy H W Johnston

May I  list what I currently see as key issues; I have ongoing discussion of these in the S&T agriculture group, but the discussion there is limited by lack of membership with relevant experience. I am also currently discussing them with Teagasc people, in the context of their Farm Partnership Scheme. The key issue, I suggest, are:

1. to decrease our dependence on imported feedingstuffs

2. to substitute digested urban bio-waste for imported artificial fertiliser; does this present a problem for permanent grass?

3. to assess whether, in the light of 2 above, we need to consider grass as part of a rotation system, if we need more tillage for fodder as import-replacement;

4. to reduce the ton-miles of transport taken up by intermediate products;

5. to maximise the local added value, with diverse products, derived from livestock, tillage and horticulture, in a mutually supportive system;

6. to develop an organised co-operative approach to local production, added value and marketing management, focused on villages and small towns.

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It is evident from the above that it will be necessary to re-invent the large-scale labour-employing multi-product managed 'estate', from the bottom up, in co-operaitve mode, and the Partnership Scheme is a possible way to do this, as a worker-owned co-operative enterprise.

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