Memorandum submitted by Norman Jackson
(Farmers) Ltd (O26)
1. The Jackson group farms 6,500 acres in
North Lincolnshire. The farms are all arable with intensive pigs
on three of the units. The farms grow wheat with break crops of
sugar beet, oilseed rape and dried peas. The farms grow 650 acres
of sugar beet to fulfil a quota of 1,200 tonnes. The group also
have a Transport company which is involved in moving 40,000 tonnes
of sugar beet to the York factory. The group has 55 employees
in the arable, pig and transport businesses.
The group farms in an environmentally sensitive
way and according to all codes of good agricultural practice.
Mr Jonathan Jackson is also a director of United Oilseeds, one
of the UK's largest farmer co-operatives.
We need time to adjust our business to changes if
serious losses are to be avoided, not only to ourselves but to
the wider rural economy around us.
Levels of support to all national sugar beet industries
within the E.U. must be fair, level and transparent.
3. We support and recommend that Option 1 "Stable
Market" be adopted. This option we believe recognises the
need for change but would help to ensure an economic and environmentally
sustainable future for this sector of the rural economy.
4. The reasons for our position are:
Sugar beet has been a major contributor
to the output of our farms.
Sugar beet has the greatest biodiversity
of any crop we grow.
Sugar beet offers a break crop which
underpins the efficient production of wheat on our farms.
Sugar beet allows us to overwinter
stubbles before ploughing, helping to sustain farmland birds populations.
The rules which govern the sector
should be simple.
Quotas should be maintained to ensure
a stable market in which all stakeholders can plan ahead.
Price reductions must take account
of the EU's WTO commitments.
Compensation should be paid to sugar
beet growers who are adversely affected by rationalisation of
No EU member should be allowed to
make subsidised exports at the expense of the EU budget.
Any changes to the regime should
be gradual to allow the sector and individual growers time to
adjust and develop alternative business strategies.
The long-term aim should be to encourage
and develop efficient industries such as the UK's.
5. This is not support for the status quo
but for the adoption of structured change to a system that would
provide market stability and long-term sustainability for all
those involved in the food chain.
26 March 2004