No other industry is as highly competitive as agriculture, but there is also no other industry receiving as many subsidies as agriculture does. It is a question of these subsidies when green eco-phantasts fight for “lean grassland”, for “natural forests with bark beetles”, for “a green band” lengthwise through Germany, for “frog bridges”, for a “production without artificial fertilisers” and similar uneconomical “causes”.
On the other hand, the farmers as producers are fighting a desperate battle against the market power of the big buyers of milk, pigs, grain or other things. These buyers can dictate prices to them. They are international corporations, and the small farmers are helpless against them.
To a considerable extent, agriculture subsidies go to the processors of agricultural products. There is no conclusive explanation known for this fact. For all intents and purposes, agricultural subsidies should only benefit agricultural producers.
Only 9% of our 266,700 agricultural enterprises count more than 100 hectares; so more than 90% are small, medium-sized family businesses. It is also always these that are at the forefront of media coverage, and they are seen by the population as the actual farm structure.
Economically, however, the situation is quite different:
Therefore, in practice, these large farms are not agricultural enterprises but commercial enterprises on an agricultural basis.
So although farmers’ economic activity has for many reasons not been considered to be commercial and they are therefore not subject to trade tax, this does not apply to agricultural factories. A pig fattening facility with thousands of pigs, a factory farm with tens of thousands of chickens, or a dairy farm with hundreds of cows is no longer an agricultural but in reality a commercial enterprise with mass production, high-tech, and a narrow product range. This applies to all large agricultural corporations.
The EU is currently debating how subsidies should be distributed more fairly.
If one takes seriously the idea that large agrarian corporations are differently structured, legally different, and are mass instead of variable producers, one must also differentiate between farmers and industrial companies in the matter of agricultural promotion. Large corporations must not be allowed to receive subsidies, would also have to pay trade tax, since they have as little to do with farming businesses as crafts have to do with industry.
consistently, this would
Then the unfair competition between small farmers and mass agricultural production in Germany would also disappear, through trade tax and the reduction of subsidies; then the 90% farming enterprises would to be able to compete again and agricultural policy would again benefit farmers instead of corporations. •
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