Farm subsidies at forefront of Paris Agricultural Show

Global Business

Farm subsidies at forefront of Paris Agricultural Show

Farm subsidies have been debated for decades, but it’s taken on greater urgency with the possibility that the U.K. may leave the European Union.

CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Farm subsidies at forefront of Paris Agricultural Show

Farm subsidies at forefront of Paris Agricultural Show

Farm subsidies have been debated for decades, but it’s taken on greater urgency with the possibility that the U.K. may leave the European Union. CCTV America’s Owen Fairclough reports.

Britain is one of the biggest contributors to Europe’s budget, so its departure would likely affect farmers everywhere in Europe, especially those in France.

At the annual Paris Agricultural Show, it’s become almost a rite of passage for French presidents to run the gauntlet of angry farmers.

This year, President Francois Hollande did his best to pacify the crowd.

“It’s very hard for a young person to set up in farming, but France needs to live off its own agriculture,” Hollande said to a crowd at the show.

“People need to stop buying meat from abroad!” one farmer shouted.

It’s not just foreign competition driving farmers to take to the streets from Paris to Brussels.

A Russian embargo on Western food imports has compounded a steep decline in global food prices, while wholesalers are accused of squeezing smaller producers. Many end up selling milk and meat at a loss.

Foreign competition is only expected to become stronger when trade officials in the United States – and their European counterparts – wrap up a new transatlantic free trade deal, potentially by the end of this year.

The deal would eliminate tariffs and give U.S. farmers free access to European markets and vice versa.

The prospect of the U.K. leaving the EU through its forthcoming referendum means tens of billions less in the ‘subsidies pot’ for both British farmers and their counterparts across Europe.

In Paris, the message to consumers is: buy local.

“If large retailers want to buy cheaper products, they can go look outside of France. We need to tell our consumers that if they want us to exist tomorrow, they need to buy from French farmers,” Dairy Farmer Bruno le Blevec said.


Bill Davies of Lancaster University on agricultural subsidies

CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo interviewed Bill Davies, a professor of plant science at Lancaster University, about the effectiveness of agricultural subsidies.

Bill Davies of Lancaster University on agricultural subsidies

Bill Davies of Lancaster University on agricultural subsidies

CCTV America’s Rachelle Akuffo interviewed Bill Davies, a professor of plant science at Lancaster University, about the effectiveness of agricultural subsidies.


Iowa farms use drones and data to improve crop yields

The heavily agricultural U.S. state of Iowa is rapidly implementing technological advancements to boost crop yields.

CCTV America’s Nathan King reports from Des Moines, Iowa.

Iowa farms use drones and data to improve crop yields

Iowa farms use drones and data to improve crop yields

The heavily agricultural U.S. state of Iowa is rapidly implementing technological advancements to boost crop yields. CCTV America’s Nathan King reports from Des Moines, Iowa.

If it goes in the ground and grows, there is now an app for that. At this farm equipment show in Iowa, technology is front and center-from the palm of your hand to something a whole lot bigger.

Scott Meldrum sells new generation machines that look more like something from a racetrack than a corn field. The machines document tractor health and offers auto steer functions, he said.

All this data used is aimed at boosting yields of Iowa’s two most important crops: corn and soya beans.

Current yields of corn are about 200 bushels per acre in Iowa, this technology can boots yields by 5 percent a year, Meldrum said. But it’s not cheap – a tractor can cost more than $600,000.

Far cheaper is new drone technology. Drones are being used to spot wind and rain damage from the air and use infrared technology to determine crop health.

“It’s tremendous basically it’s another tool it still requires you to be on the ground so it’s not going to tell you everything but it’s just a quick way to view a field and get that image back and make decisions with that imagery,” Brad Buchanan of agricultural drone company Crop Copter said.