Unsustainable Farming in the West Country

I’m shocked that George Eustice, MP-Camborne & Redruth, & UK Secretary of State for the ENVIRONMENT, FOOD & RURAL AFFAIRS, is ignoring science. He, his Government, & Chemical, & Oil industry friends, are promoting the very destruction of these things, while disregarding real solutions.

Already ignoring the public comments of 88% of the population, who wish the original EU Regulations on food, chemicals, and the environment, be maintained. He is dismantling these, opening up the UK, and especially the South West, to a surge in toxic chemical use.

1) TOXIC CHEMICALS: Without Parliamentary debate, on 25th Jan, he is rushing through the ‘FSA approval of 9 Genetically Modified crops’, without any risk assessment, or traceability, if anything goes wrong.

Despite all the promised benefits from the AgroChemical industries, the only thing that has resulted from GE, is an ever increasing use of MORE Toxic CHEMICALS, as weeds and pests evolve, and become tolerant. Creating an ever increasing expense to farmers.

These GE crops, and others in the pipeline, are engineered to be sprayed with Glufosinate Ammonium, Dicamba, Glyphosate, and other chemicals. While the Government totally ignores effects to human health.

In USA you can already see the damage from this system. A few recent news stories:

Aa) GLUFOSINATE AMMONIUM: One manufacturer of these chemicals (Monsanto/Bayer) was just fined $12M, by the Federal Government, in Hawaii. They allowed workers to enter a Glufosinate sprayed field, within 6 DAYS of SPRAYING.

Our Farmers had better wear hazmat suits, and stop their children, dogs, and employees, going into their fields.

b) The French ANSES, withdrew the license for Bayer’s glufosinate-ammonium weedkiller, citing “uncertainty over its EFFECT ON HEALTH”.

Ba) DICAMBA Drift: In USA, in 2018 alone, the USDA reported that chemical drift had “DAMAGED 4.1 MILLIONS OF ACRES of farmers crops, wide swaths of natural areas, gardens, and TENS of MILLIONS of TREES across the Midwest”. The U.S. 9th Circuit, Federal Court of Appeals, banned 3 Dicamba pesticides. The court acknowledgement that it “TEARS THE SOCIAL FABRIC OF FARMING COMMUNITIES, by engendering strife among those spraying and those suffering drift damage”.

b) Further restrictions are “NO spraying within 4 hours of RAIN”, nor, “in WINDS above 7 mph”.

c) It persists in the soil, and is water soluble, so groundwater is often contaminated.

C) GLYPHOSATE: 110,000 farmers have just been awarded $11 Billion, for contracting Non-Hodkin Lymphoma, and Leukemia. Court disclosed e-mails, reveal that Monsanto knew of the toxicity of their product, created false safety data, and paid Scientists, Doctors, and EPA officials, to sign them off.

2) HEALTH: For many years, I worked at a hospital in Northern California, and we saw farmers health problems, and an increase in cancers, and death.

The manufacturer has just withdraw Glyphosate for gardens, and Germany is totally banning it in 2023, “for more organic methods.”

The EPA classifies these chemicals as “persistent” and “mobile”. “Residues remain in frozen food for up to 2 years and are not easily destroyed by boiling water”. In the USA these chemicals are now found in most food, water and the air. A UC Davis, Mind Institute study: Pregnant Women living within a mile of chemical sprayed fields, have a 66% increased risk, of having a child with AUTISM.

Most of these chemicals are also highly toxic to fish, butterflies, beneficial insects like predatory spiders and mites, frogs, toads, and other amphibians, which in turn effect birds, otters, hedgehogs, etc, etc.

3) MAIZE: Most of the proposed GE crops are maize. The South West is currently the biggest producer of Maize in UK. This requires high inputs of pesticides & fertilizers, especially in early growth.

The use of maize for silage has a significant negative effect on the nutritional content of milk and meat, with decreasing levels of beneficial omega, and maize fed cattle are more susceptible to TB.

“The destruction of grassland is especially ironic, given that maize-based cattle systems are high cost, compared to grass silage and grazing based systems.”


Field comparisons of GE and non-GE maize revealed decreases in the biomass of amoebae, earthworms, flagellates, ciliates, as well as of nematodes.

5) BIOGAS from Maize versus Waste:

Increasingly maize is being grown as an energy crop for anaerobic digesters (AD). Up 2.6%, to 4.28m tonnes, last year. The Soil Association is calling on the Government to save up to £50 million per year, by stopping the multiple subsidies available for AD digesters fueled by maize, and to just support biogas from Waste.

“Subsidized energy crops are a waste of prime agricultural land, that ought to be used to produce food.” In Germany, investors in the biogas industry are changing the economics of agriculture. Rapidly rising rents, hit all farmers producing food, especially struggling vegetable, and dairy farmers.


The food system contributes about 1/3 of Greenhouse gasses (GHG’s), worldwide.

It’s estimated that the Nitrogen fertilizer supply chain contributes more than 6 TIMES the GHG’s produced by the aviation sector.

Farmers are forced to use increasing amounts of oil industry derived fertilizers, because herbicides sterilize, and chelate minerals from the soil, and are also antibiotic. (Patented “attributes”).

Nitrogen use efficiency is also higher, with non GE crops.

“The average wind turbine generates four megawatts. One concrete pillar in the seabed, versus 450 hectares of farmland. Maize farming could scarcely be better designed to cause soil erosion, compaction and run-off, which threaten the fertility of the land, the health of our freshwater ecosystems and the homes at risk from flooding.”

We should be reducing long term soil damage, and food imports, for the future of UK food production.

Our farmers are under enough stress making a living, without having to deal with these unhealthy, increasing expensive, unsustainable, practices. Government proposals will only benefit just a few large companies in the long run, and put a burden on the Climate, our farmers, the NHS and our taxes. Why are they not embracing fully sustainable REGENERATIVE ORGANIC FARMING methods, that are starting to succeed across the world, and not treat us like a group of yokels?