Poverty trapped

March 14, 2003

No doubt the farmers interviewed by Matt Lobley and Matt Reed ("Please don't come around, we're having a bloody nightmare", THES , March 7) share the countryman's pride of hiding poverty behind hard work but that doesn't mean problems are exaggerated.

THES readers are better placed than most to understand why few farmers give up. Few lecturers leave their profession despite low pay, high student-to-staff ratios and lack of facilities. But lecturers are highly qualified and well trained, while many farmers have a narrowly based agricultural qualification that has prepared them for no other life. Give up farming and they lose their livelihood.

John Garratt
Emeritus fellow, University of York
Sennotts Farm, Haywoods Heath

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