Farmers more controlled than drug dealers!

It’s hard to imagine the extent to which farmers are monitored in their daily work: by satellite, by helicopter, by inspections. Edifying testimony from Jean-Luc Guérard, from Giscourt, in Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Jean-Luc Guérard former farmer (DR)
Jean-Luc Guérard former farmer (DR)

France’s farmers are in revolt. After Germany, Poland, Romania and the Netherlands, French farmers are blocking the roads to voice their anger. Their demands are directed at Gabriel Attal’s government, but also at Brussels, and include unbearable bureaucracy and constant checks by the administration, which forces them to spend two days a week on paperwork. And to risk huge penalties at every turn.

Satellite verification

Until recently, Jean-Luc Guérard, now retired, ran a 210-hectare mixed crop-livestock GAEC farm in Villers-en-Haye (54). He fed 70 dairy cows and around a hundred fattening cattle. He also grew cereals: wheat, barley, rapeseed and sunflower. Since he started farming in 1984, the notorious Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “has never stopped inventing new standards”, he says. Created by technocrats in Brussels, these standards are incorporated into French laws and regulations. “But our government keeps adding to them,” says the former farmer. To the point where he was obliged to spend two days a week doing paperwork. You have to declare everything to the European control bodies,” explains Jean-Luc Guérard. Here’s just one example. I had fruit trees in the meadows. I had to deduct the surface area shaded by my trees from the cultivated agricultural area! A satellite passes over our farms every day to check that our declarations are correct.
In the event of an anomaly, the penalty is harsh. It applies to the whole farm. CAP premiums are withdrawn.

Helicopter checks

Another bizarre example. Jean-Luc Guérard had planted a few Jerusalem artichokes for his own consumption. The Jerusalem artichoke is an ancient vegetable with a rather sweet flavor and a delicate aroma similar to that of the artichoke. In spring, it produces large yellow flowers, rather like sunflowers. But the technocrats in Brussels don’t know what they’re talking about. From satellite images, they couldn’t figure out what these strange plants were doing in a plot of land. They sent a Gendarmerie helicopter to take clearer images. But, once again, it was impossible to recognize the Jerusalem artichokes our grandparents used to enjoy.

An inspection on the farm

Brussels therefore dispatched an inspector from the Direction départementale de l’agriculture (DDA). The investigator, who had come to check the strange plants, had to face the facts. These were not plants of some kind of drug grown in secret, but simple, harmless Jerusalem artichokes, which she photographed and sent to Brussels.

(To be continued)