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No. 29             DIVERSIFICATION NEWS             2009


Where did the Summer go?

Harvest Festival has come and gone and usually heralds the arrival of Autumn. This is after a summer when some of us never saw the sun for two months - will it ever stop raining? Yes some crops have been destroyed but somehow the farmer always wins through on much of what he does even picking the crop up off the floor. There was a dry spell to get in most of the Maize and the cattle have been left out for longer this year in some places but may be having supplements, as the grass looses its feed value. The talk at the South West Dairy Show was that the general trend has been that the milk yield this year has not been that good, with August being the lowest for 40 years.

The financial market crash will have a knock on effect on feed prices in the coming months with increased prices of up to 50% and the farmer must batten down the hatches as few new perks come to the countryman. Petrol and diesel has however come back down and could come back further for a while before it goes up again. But, Mr Brown is reluctant to take any tax off Red Diesel, which we have been pushing for for some time, for fear of not being able to pay the interest on his National Debt.

TB testing continues apace with July seeing a substantial number of positive tests but in August a marked decline. Friesian Bull calves are still being killed soon after birth what a waste that is when "rose" veal could be provided. There must be a change in this policy by government soon especially when food is going to be so important for the Nation. It is a crazy world where milk is cheaper than water!

To the Farmers and those in the Countryside we say that if you have worries that you cannot contend with, try talking them through, they are so much better out than in and then someone else can help. Try us on 01404 861284.

The Advancement of Quangos and Handouts

This newsletter is meant to be about the land, and not about political matters however Quango's are a matter which needs to be addressed. We have mentioned them in our past Newsletters and now at last it seems that more people are taking note of the extravagant waste of money. Since 1997, 111 Quangos have been set up under this Government. In all the UK has 529 quango's financed with billions of pounds of taxpayers money, many completely useless and many duplicating each others efforts.

It seems that the Labour Government just cannot resist dipping into the mythical pots of money and pulling out further funds which were not there in the first place. They then proceed to spend it on ineffective Quangos' like the British Potato Council, the Milk Development Council, the Energy Savings Trust, Agricultural Wages Committees, the Wine Standards Board, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, the Football Licensing Authority, Investors in People UK and the Economic and Social Research Council and others.

It is well known that Wayne Rooney is paid £27m for his football skills by the Club he plays for, whilst the taxpayer is then forced to fund the Football Licensing Authority with over £1.1million a year?

The Regional Development Agencies costs £1.8bn a year surely this money could be put to much better use. Examples of the most expensive Quangos are:

  • Legal Services Commission - £2.1bn

  • Scottish Education Funding Council £800m

  • Northern Health and Social Services Board £550m

  • Teacher Training Agency £514.6m

In this time of need whilst many people are being made redundant, MP's from all sides of the House need to pay attention to this waste.

A similar situation arises where DEFRA offers free advice on Farm Diversification in competition to organisations such as small partnerships that have to charge for the same advice. Why is DEFRA offering FREE advice when they are only meant to be running our rural payments? Perhaps the Government do want to totally kill private enterprise.

Linking hands across the Continents

Great interest is being taken in Companies working alongside important and newly developed ideas in India and the far East. Landowning Initiatives is not being left behind in this area with the development of a Charity called IEDF (Indian Equestrian Development Foundation, for the enhancement of Equestrian Development) and another commercial company called IED Ltd (Indian Equestrian Development Ltd).

Both the Charity and the Company are looking towards the 'advancement of equestrian excellence' throughout India and are working with the Commonwealth Business centre and the Indian Government in creating new Training and Education opportunities.

This Company and Charity are backed by a strong area of UK professionalism coming from every side of the Equestrian Market who have offered help to assist with improvements across the world. They are combining with certain Universities and top Equestrian advisers. (Please inquire on 01404 861 629)

Banks and the Countryside, are they Managers or Puppets on strings?

The high handed actions of Banks today have prompted fast reorganisation of farmer's financial affairs.

When we were young there was a village policeman, a baker, a butcher and a bank manager and who were all part of your life.

The Bank Manager especially was a serious and responsible person who was well established in the Community, knew what business was going on, travelled within the Community and had the power to lend money from his bank for his run of the mill client's. He had plenty of discretion, was trustworthy to his clients and took a real interest in their affairs; sitting down with them and planning their future.

Today the local Bank Manager is purely ‘a puppet on a string'. He is there as the front man to a system which is fully automated. There is no flexibility in this system and our ‘puppet' is unable to do anything except sign computerised letters and send your request up to the central point for approval.

This is the moment that you start to loose confidence in your smiling new friend. Your particular request may be for a small sum but "Yes" despite everything else, you find he has "No discretion" and has to refer up the line to the "Faceless Community".

You know who they are because you hear about them in the National Papers. Those people on a large bonus sitting in darkened offices with faceless expressions without a name.

Your simple loan request (similar to being overdrawn) is then compared against your record or your credit rating. You are no longer a customer, you are a sort code, and a number with a password that you must not forget and you are filed in this credit rating system for life! The fact that your family has banked with that Bank for 50 / 60 and 70 years is of no consequence. You are no one now except digits on a piece of paper or in a computer which writes to you!

Remember that money is a commodity for sale to the public. It is a commodity freely tradeable and there must be sufficient at all times to cover its customers needs. If it does not and a scare happens like Northern Rock then this can trigger an entire slide in confidence (remember Mary Poppin's) and it is our view that although there were many Companies trading at the time near or beyond their means, it was the handling of Northern Rock by the Government that created the world avalanche in confidence.

There must always be sufficient money in a Bank for the inevitable rainy day and on this occasion there was not. It is our view that if this bank had stopped trading that there would have been far fewer problems started up as a knock on effect in the world markets. If money is not in a bank then the bank should have to answer for it itself. It has over traded and should, like any other business, go in to liquidation and the Directors/Managers should loose their jobs for incompetence.

Ah but, not in this case, No, the Government comes to its aid, stops that, allowing those men in dark suits to survive and live another day thereby creating a world crisis all because it would not be good for the Bank (especially a Northern Bank) to go bust. Why should the public be treated so differently?

Let us be frank, a Bank Manager today does not exist. Those who have taken their place are the people who have brought this country to its knees in financial terms, for over lending to dubious operators and others.

If we are in debt to the banks then the Managers or men in dark suits act as debt collection agents against us but when they are in trouble themselves as a bank, they go squealing to the Government to be provided with more money to keep them afloat in the way they are accustomed. Why do the public not understand that this is where this Government has led us? Mammoth spin has been taken on board and no one has challenged it and now we, as a Country, have, apart from Pakistan, the largest National debt in the world. We will now be in debt for years to come.

Our Banking service has totally lost the plot; they are not like the European Banks who sit down with you, work out your cash flows and then even take equity in their customers business to help it along. The greed of our Nations Banks is appalling and the shareholders should tell them so at their next AGM's.

In ending this unpalatable tale you should take note that when you see your Accountant or Solicitor when buying advice from them, you do not see the managing clerk or the office boy, no, you get what you asked for, the Director or Partner in charge. This is not so with bankers who at every turn pass responsibility to someone else.

This Report and comments have been put together because of a series of experiences and complaints happening to Clients of Landowning Initiatives.

The Partridge and the Grouse

In cheering up this newsletter there is still some sport left apart from hunting where you get out into the Countryside which we should just remind ourselves about.

Shooting is a sport which, whether the Nation is in Credit or Deficit continues because Sportsmen prioritise their sport even before their family!

The first part of the shooting season is taken up with Grouse and Partridges who have this year been flying high and strong. The techniques for holding birds has improved, however there are still some shoots who are not giving enough ground area to Partridge covets.

Partridges are good sporting birds and together with the grouse keep you alert tuning up your senses to razor sharp for the pheasant season ahead. The Game Conservancy are strong supporters of these birds. There are now Partridges, in some places in Scotland, infringing on the edge of the grouse moors and certainly make almost as good a sporting shot as a grouse.

One fails to realise that there are 25 different species of Grouse. They are mainly terrestrial birds but the main game bird and in our view ‘the king of all sporting birds', is the Red Grouse found in Northern England and Scotland. The Ptarmigan or snow grouse is another species mainly found in Scotland, which changes its plumage to suit the snow and is a challenging game bird found mainly on the tops of Mountains. There is the Sage grouse which lives on the prairies in America growing to 25 to 30 inches long and the Ruffed Grouse who lives in the forest in America.

Other European species include the Black grouse and the Capercaillie which are formidable birds in flight.

Grouse on many of the more famous moors in the North present formidable challenges especially if driven down wind; and can be touching 110 miles per hour in a good gale. Do not get hit by one you have shot out in front! The season has not been good in Scotland especially in Perthshire with the visitation of the Tick. However further South good bags have been returned. If you have never shot driven grouse have a go next year! But book early and do not be disappointed if it is cancelled because of mist which sometimes happens Take out a pluvius policy to cover the inevitable.

Training within small Companies

The Government says it has money to hand out for retraining people in small companies. What sort of retraining are they looking at? who will be the main beneficiaries? Is this money for retraining 30,000 civil servants or is it going to an SME with 10 staff.

Is this not a policy that many have been waiting for over the past 10 years to create Technical Colleges to train people into Agriculture through Lantra and for industry? or is it to retrain those Civil servants into some new area of the Civil Service. There are with the present downturn in businesses 1.79 Million more people unemployed. If jobs are to be found for civil servants then the recovery which will inevitably be reported by this Government will not become the true reflection of the unemployment position. The Government should follow the route of Technical Colleges instead which show the true figures.

Technical College retraining can be started on a farm initially and if successful it can be run by a local farmer as a diversification, so check as to where this Brown Government handout is going to happen and insist that it goes to Small Medium Enterprises which can be established by yourselves. For Training for a new Venture" Ring on 01404861284.

WANTED Landowning Initiatives is looking for persons to run areas of their Farm Diversification Business including the Overseas Equestrian Company developing in India and to head the Agricultural Directory. Ring 01404 861 284.

DON'T FORGET take up your free entry and register yourself and or your Company on the Agricultural Directory at or take an Enhanced entry at £50 plus VAT for three years. "If you get one business lead in three years it is worth while!"



Correct at the time of gong to press.

Landowning Initiatives accept no liability for errors or omissions.