Dougie Vipond examines the implications of proposed changes to the way farmers across Europe are subsidised. Plus, Nick Nairn deconstructs a Christmas turkey.
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Hello, and a very warm welcome to Landward, exploring the issues at
the heart of the Scottish countryside. In a moment, Euan will
have the first of two films looking at the European Common Agricultural
Policy and what proposed changes may mean for Scotland, but first,
here's what else is coming up on the programme. The Shetland ponies
preparing for their version of the Grand National. I never thought you
would quite get there. You always dream about it and think, it would
be so good to get there, but you never think you will. I take a trip
into Scotland's largest sea cave. Every drop of rain that falls here
comes down that waterfall. We have to be pretty careful here. This
cave floods very easily, yeah. Nick pulls a turkey apart. I am
going to strip down the carcass. I am going to get some bones to make
a beautiful, rich stock. I am going to keep the trimmings and leftovers
to make a rich, hearty turkey broth. The Common Agricultural Policy
which governs how farming is managed across the EU and how
farmers are subsidised to produce food is to undergo substantial
reform. The proposals will be hotly debated across Europe over the next
year or so until the final package is delivered in 2013. In the first
of two films, Euan looks back at how the CAP has evolved.
European farming subsidies - it might not sound like the most
exciting topic in the world, so why should you care? Well, for one
thing, you pay for it. It costs the average family of four in Britain
�426 every year. Almost half of the entire EU budget
is spent subsidising farmers, and farmers represent just 5% of the
European population. So why do we spend so much subsidising so few?
Well, to understand that, we have to look back.
Before World War II, Britain had become more and more reliant on
imported foods from the Commonwealth, like wheat from the
vast Canadian prairies. Then the war changed everything. During the
Second World War, the danger of relying on imported food became all
too obvious. Twice Germany nearly beat us by sinking our food ships.
We learned that farming is every much as bit a part of our defence
as guns, planes and ships. Have we forgot about the foods in our
shops? After the traumas of the war, Britain was determined to become
more self-sufficient, to help our farmers develop and become more
productive, the British Government began subsidising them. Then in
1973, we joined Europe. OLD NEWSREEL: The Gulf between
Britain and Europe has shrunk to the three paces' width of the
carpet of Brussels under one roof. In signing the accession treating,
we were signing up to the Common Agricultural Policy, known as CAP.
The Common Agricultural Policy has been part of the European Union's
policy since its inception, the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Back at that
time memories of food shortages, even starvation in parts of Europe
in the Second World War were still very vivid, so really the policy
was brought in to stabilise markets and increase production. In the
'70s under CAP, fruit, vegetables and meat all had a fixed price.
Farmers were told we'll give you a guaranteed price for your produce.
How much do you want to supply? Understandably, the answer was lots
- mountains of it. Beef, butter and milk powder
mountains grew as the EU had to store surplus produce. In 1980, the
money programme explained why it was happening. The wholesale price
of butter outside the common market is 34p per pound, but inside the
market, the price of butter can be fixed much higher without being
undercut. At the moment, it's 80p. Why so much higher? Because 80p is
the price the nine agricultural Ministers reckon will give Europe's
farmers a reasonable income. Understandably, the higher the
price, the more the farmer will produce because high prices are an
incentive to production, but higher prices mean the consumer can't
afford the buy, so it's not surprising if Europe produces more
butter than she can eat. Farmers had done exactly what they were
asked to do - produce more food and make Europe more self-sufficient.
But it was costly, and surplus was never the aim of the policy.
Something had to change, and it did. There was a succession of reforms
in the 1990s, and then a big change in 2004. When the link between what
farmers produced and what they were paid was largely broken.
Farmers used to get paid per head for the livestock, per hectare for
the crops. That is still the case, but it's not in relation to the
number of animals or area they grow. Today farmers are largely given
what's called a single farm payment. It's not linked to how many cows
they produce or tonnes of grain they harvest. In Scotland, the size
of the payment is largely based on the total subsidy they historically
received under the old system regardless of what they now produce.
With no guaranteed prices, overproduction and the food
mountains have gone, but we still spend �47 billion every year on CAP.
So why does farming deserve to be subsidised at all? Well, the
argument goes because it's totally different from any other industry.
It produces one of the most essential ingredients for life -
food. The vast majority of farmers in Scotland would struggle to be
viable without that support coming from Europe. However, you always
find farmers who are bucking the trend and who are out there and are
making good returns without relying on support quite as heavily as some
of their peers. It's also worth remembering that Europe isn't the
only place where farming subsidised. In the United States, often
considered to be the standard bearer for liberal economics,
farming is massively subsidise. If we abolished them here, then our
farmers would simply be exeeght with subsidised farming from across
the Atlantic, so where to we go from here?
That's what I'll be looking at later in the programme. The Common
Agricultural Policy is up for reform again, and I'll be speaking
to the Government Ministers, farmers and conservationists about
what they think should happen next. Last week, Nick cooked a Christmas
turkey with all the trimmings. This week in his quest not to waste an
ounce of the bird, he's going to show us how to make some good stock
We're all living in difficult economic times, and the Christmas
budget has never been under more pressure, so this year, I'm going
to show you how to make the most out of your turkey. Not one little
bit is going to go to waste. A last week I cooked the perfect Christmas
dinner. This week I'm going to start work on the left-overs.
Now, when I said that we weren't going to waste any of the turkey, I
really meant it. This week, I'm going to strip down the carcass.
I'm going to get some bones to make a beautiful, rich stock, and I'm
going to keep the trimmings and left-overs to make a rich, hearty
Now, to make the stock, we need the bones, the skin, everything that
you would normally chuck out, and we take that and put that into a
big pan, and at Christmas, you can never have a pan that's big enough.
And now I'm going to cover the bones with cold water.
MUSIC I'm going to prep the veg, but it's
incredibly important that you don't let this boil. Otherwise, you'll
ruin the stock. Back to the veg - onion, celery, carrots - the
carrots, you need to peel them just as they are.
If you let the pan come to a rolling boil, the turbulence of the
water will carry this coagulated protein and fat that's risen up
down into the liquid, and it's going to be muddy and cloudy, and
it's not going to taste great. You've got to get this skimmed off
now, so I'm going to use a ladle and just skim the coagulated
protein and fat and remove that, and when I add the vegetables on
top, they'll act as a filter for the stock, and the stock will wise
and fall through the vegetables, and as it does, it purifies itself.
So the stock has been ticking away now for about two-and-a-half hours,
and when I dip my spoon in, I get this heavenly scent and see that
lovely clarity we've got. There is no greasiness. There is no
cloudiness. There is no heaviness, and it tastes fantastic. Now, if
you don't use the stock all at once, of course, you can always freeze it,
and it keeps for up to three months in the freezer. Now that we've got
a really nice turkey stock, making a great broth is very easy. I'm
going to dice up some vegetables - some onions, carrots, celery, a bit
of leek, then in go the veggies into the pan. Now, it's really
important not to fry the vegetables. We don't want any Carmelisation or
colour in the veg. We just want to soften and sweeten them. That takes
about three or four minutes. Once the vegetables start to look nice
and translucent, I add the stock. While we're letting that come back
up to the boil again, I'm going to dice up some of the turkey
leftovers. That's been cooking for about ten minutes now, and the
vegetables are still al dente, so it's time to add the turkey. I also
add the turkey in the last two to three minutes of the soup's cooking,
and that way you keep the tuxure of the meat. In goes the parsley. I'm
just going to stir that through. The parsley always goes in at the
last minute to keep the colour and flavour, and that looks and smells
salt, just a little pinch of salt in there, and some more freshly-
ground black pepper, and there you have it - my turkey Christmas broth
made with stock from the bones with a little bit of the diced leftover
meat through there. It smells delicious, and as ever, those
recipes are on the Landward web page. Next week I'll be using some
of the stock and leftover meat to creation a sensational turkey
Still to come: I take a trip into the spectacular.
If I want to explore the inner chambers I have to go on a boat
ride. My job from month to month is to try to make these proposals
better so they'll work better for Scottish farmers, English farmers,
Northern Ireland and Welsh farmers. The London International Horse Show
will take place at Olympia next week. One of the highlights of the
event is the Shetland pony Grand National. I went to meet two of the
ponies and riders as they prepare Shetland ponies are not generally
known for their speed and agility, but here in Aberdeenshire, there
are two very special ponies - you Dollar and Flynn are the only
ponies from Scotland to qualify for the Shetland Pony Grand National
this year. The ponies will be ridden by dedicated young riders
Sarah and Megan, who worked hard all year to qualify for the event.
Well, what do you think about going to Olympia? Great. Amazing,
undescribable. Yeah? I never thought I would quite get there.
You always dream about it, and you think, it would be so good to get
there, but you never think you will. It's only my first year racing, and
I didn't expect to get through my first year. It's just amazing.
Flynn was so good. He helped me all the way. Come on, boys. The founder
is Marie Brooker, who has been breeding Shetlands for over 50
years. Oh, they're very clever. They're cleverer than a lot of
people, and you really have to have your wits about you if you're going
to really use them. If you can ride on a Shetland, you can learn to
ride on anything after that. They're not fat little slobs to be
dragged around on the end of a lead rope. They love to work. That's
when they come into their own, when All of the ponies bred here are
worked regularly. Some are ridden by the children while others are
used for carriage driving. That is absolutely exhausting, and very,
very exhilarating. That was magic! The International Horse Show at
Olympia is one of the highlights of the equestrian calendar. And the
Shetland Pony Grand National is much loved by riders and spectators
alike. The course is a mini-version of the Grand National course at
Aintree. Scaled-down versions of famous jumps like The Chair and
Beechers Brook have been faithfully recreated in miniature, and the
jockeys are all dressed in racing silks was that just to be there
would be excellent, even if I didn't win a race, it would still
be awesome to take part. And if you want to see Sarah, Megan, Dollar
and Flynn in action putting on a show, they will be performing every
night at Olympia from Wednesday next week until Monday the 19th.
If you have a comment about anything you see on the programme,
or have a wonderful story to share with us, please send us an e-mail.
You can probably tell by the brolly, but the weather here at Stirling
Castle is a wee bit soggy. But what about the prospects for this
weekend and beyond? To find out, here is Christopher with the
As we going to the weekend it looks like we will have an East-West
split for Saturday. It will be better in the East than in the West.
-- as we go into the weekend. To start the day tomorrow there will
be wintry showers in Sutherland and the Western Isles. It will be a dry
and bright day for many parts of the country. As we head towards the
afternoon we do have this weather front trying to push in from the
West. For much of the mainland it will be dry, bright and cold. In
the East, particularly across the north-east, dry and bright. It will
be a cold day, perhaps just two or three Celsius. If you are out and
about this weekend it will be cloudy in the West with a chance of
some sleet or snow showers. Further east it will be drier and brighter
for longer. Still a risk of some sleet or snow over the Cairngorms
or Perthshire hills. Wind will be from the West or South West. If you
are out on the water, you can expect a westerly force five. It
will be dry and bright in the East for much of the day. On Saturday
night at the rain quickly crosses the country from West to East. The
cloud will keep things mild. One or two inland areas will be down to
freezing. There will be a relatively brief period of calm
weather on Sunday. It will start to turn wet and windy next week. On
Monday there will be a little high pressure, meaning it is not too bad
in terms of weather. The low pressure in the Atlantic will start
to show its hand. Looking at the pressure chart, we can see at low
pressure pushing him towards us. The worst of the winds it will be
in the North of England. That is Over the next few weeks, I'm going
to be visiting three of Scotland's most spectacular caves - each with
a fascinating history. This week I'm in Caithness for a trip into
For thousands of years people have been exploring caves. Some have
simply been used as a shelter from the elements, while others have
been seen as a gateway to the nether world. This week I'm
visiting Smoo cave in Durness, which, according to legend, has
more than a few hidden secrets. This massive chamber makes Smoo the
biggest sea cave entrance in the UK, but if I want to explore the inner
chambers I have to go on a Smoo cave was formed over many
thousands of years, carved along the line of a weak fault. Inside
their inner chamber, which can only be reached by boat, a waterfall
cascades through a massive hole in the ceiling. There is a huge area
here, 10 square miles, and every drop of rain that falls there comes
down that waterfall, so we have to be pretty careful here. This cave
floods very easily. Serious ducking, That's good, that's good. Okay,
Dougie. If you first stand here, on today's rock, you can pull. That's
good. Is that okay? Perfect. This was a neolithic quarry. There's no
flint in the Highlands. It doesn't exist up here. What you find is
chert, and this is what neolithic people used, the same way that
everyone else used flint. We found everything made from this - arrow
heads, spear points, everything. Also you can make a fire with it.
Wow! And that would have been very handy to a neolithic guy. And this
is called chert? Yes. It only exists in the Durness limestone.
That is why you might not have heard of it before. It is because
you will only find it up here. But this whole cave shows signs of
being a neolithic chert quarry. With any sea cave and place that
has been around for a lot of time, there is usually a whole lot of
myths and legends floating around us up yes. There is a story about
one man. But there is no myth or legend, he was a seriously bad man
was up he was the illegitimate son of the clan chieftain Mackay. He
would do all of Mackay's killing for him, so if you fell out with
the clan chief, he would send Donald round to sort you out. And
the story goes that he killed 18 men by throwing them down at what a
fall. -- down that waterfall. He was a seriously bad guy. So you
cannot find any remnants of the 18 men that he murdered in the water?
Fortunately not! In 1814 Sir Walter Scott visited here. He wrote, a
water kelpie or evil spirit with aquatic propensities could not have
found a fitter abode. Well, I hope they keep themselves to themselves
today! Earlier in the programme we saw how
the European farming policy has evolved over the last 40 years.
With reform under review, Euan looks at how some of the proposals
In 2013 the common agricultural policy will change. The European
Commission have put a number of proposals on the table, their plan
of how the CAP should be reformed. But these proposals are only a
starting point. The problem with the common agricultural policy is
that agriculture across the 27 countries of the EU often has very
little in common. Secretary of State Caroline Spelman will be
negotiating on behalf of the UK. sit between Malta and Estonia
around the council table. You can immediately see how diverse the
agriculture is in Europe. My job is to try to make these proposals
better so that they will work better for Scottish farmers,
English farmers, Welsh and Northern Irish farmers and to get a good
deal for them and for our taxpayers and consumers, and for the
environment. The debate will centre on the key reforms suggested by the
EU. Today we will look at a few of them. One problem with the current
system is so-called slipper farmers, an anomaly which allows some
landowners and retired farmers who don't actually farm anything to
continue to claim subsidy. It is quite literally money for nothing.
Nobody wants to see land sitting idle and people claiming support on
that land. We need to make sure that the support payments go to
those who are doing the job. Therefore it is important that the
new system ensures that those that nowt miss out. The EU also wants to
limit the total amount of money that one farm can get. The last
year that figures are available for revealed that this farm received
over �1,200,000 in subsidy. The EU wants the maximum any farm can
receive to be set at 300,000, that is about �260,000. That is not
supported by the UK government or the National Farmers' Union of
Scotland. The principle of capping is something we are opposed to.
Every euro is of value to Scottish agriculture and, if it is delivered
in the right way and is attached to activity and the delivery of
outcomes, then it is perfectly justified. The EU also wants the
cash to be dependent on certain environmental criteria. Seven per
cent of farmland would have to be devoted to conservation. Permanent
pasture would have to be maintained and a greater diversity of crops
grown, at least three. All things that are believed to benefit
wildlife. But the reforms do not go far enough for some wildlife bodies.
The RSPB is actually really disappointed with the reform
proposals brought forward. The commissioner said that it needs to
be reformed, they have got to justify the 435 billion of money
they are going to spend on agriculture over the next seven-
year period. What they have done is not going to do that. The RSPB
would like less money to be paid directly to farmers and more are
available as grants to those farms that undertake environmentally
friendly projects. These are just some of the reform proposals.
Others include more support for young farmers starting out,
simplifying payments for very small farms, and more funding for
research and development. But the fundamental principle of paying
farmers is not up for debate. reality is that our farmers at the
moment are not competitive with their counterparts in other parts
of the world that maybe have cheaper labour costs, not such
strict welfare criteria for livestock production. All of those
things at present mean that our farmers will continue to need
direct payments for the present time. The question is how we help
the industry becomes more competitive, more market oriented,
and to continue to produce food of a very high standard at a
reasonable price. The common agricultural policy it
is expensive, controversial and fundamentally affects the shape of
our rural communities. If you care about the countryside, you should
care about ate. -- CAP. Over the coming months, as the proposals are
negotiated and renegotiated, we will bring you the updates.
The future of farming, which just leaves me time to tell you about
the future of Landward, namely next week's programme for stop will
Scotland's curlers get the big freeze they crave? In 1979 the
grand match was on, there were a few portable toilets, the ice was
marked and we had a great day. We cannot do that now. We have health
and safety issues. And I will visit the former home of Scotland's best
known cannibals. One word of warning, young man, you might going,
but not everybody comes back it. got very scared there!
Dougie Vipond examines the implications of proposed changes to the way farmers across Europe are subsidised. Nick Nairn deconstructs a Christmas turkey and Dougie visits Smoo Cave near Durness.