Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brexit – incompetence and risk.


This is from a British person, living in France and having worked for over 20 years in the French Civil Service.

“I know some people are calling for a referendum on the final deal. Does this mean that if the answer is “no” we stay in the EU or does it mean tat we drop out altogether? The later would be catastrophic for the UK.
Personally I have never been starry-eyed about the EU but see it as a necessity, particularly in the more dangerous world we are entering. I can understand why some people have reacted against it in complete sincerety (especially those supporting farmers in Africa) but I think the alternative is now far far worse. I also think that the EU will undergo some reforms and will be a fairer place in the future. I also think some of the problems the EU has been blamed for have been more due to incompetence in UK government along with the inevitable pains of computerisation and globalization.
One thing I am sure of is that the UK will not be better off with the USA as its main trading partner. The US will look after itself, as recent events have shown. Furthermore I do not believe Conservative ministers who say that the NHS is not for sale. In fact, I don’t believe anything they say.”

For myself, I can;e see a single word I disagree with.  If you, dear reader, agree – pass it on.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 26 Aug 18


In the last 40 years or so, I have been privileged to be inside over 4000 organisations with a decision to be made. These were multi-nationals down to one man moribunds, voluntary organisations.  If there is one thing that I have learned it is that leadership is everything. I therefore watch with dismay (no pun intended) as the government in-fighting over Brexit leaves that exercise in a mess and the rest of government incompetently over-managing regulation resulting in stifling innovation and inhibiting entrepreneurial activity. I weep for my country.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd 15 June 18

 grid batteries – farming

Batteries are changing the way we will employ renewable energy sources.

The problem with solar and wind turbines is that they are never 24-7. To make matters worse, the human race tends to use a lot more power first thing in the morning and in early evening (at “peak”) than the rest of the day. Now we have the technology to produce batteries to take in power from the grid at off peak times and feed it back in during the peak demand – economically.

For farmers, as a rough guide, 1 acre = 30MW and typically sites will be 10-49 MW sites. As a very rough guide, 1 MW of battery would earn £2000 pa, index linked, for 20 years. So, if you have from half to one and half acres (allowing for access), give me an e-mail on


Re-structure Regulation Please

Cuttings from HDD (through chalk can be used mas agricultural lime, saving many tonne-truck miles.

An “environmental commission-like-body” is needed to replace the role of the European Commission and the European Court of Justice in enforcing environmental law post-Brexit, says Environment Secretary Michael Gove.   I have recently sent a few hundred tonnes of excavated chalk to landfill because the circumstances did not fit the current interpretation of the regulations.  We really do not need any more regulators.  Maybe Brexit is a real opportunity to re-structure the regulation we have got to raise productivity within a framework of environmental care.  We could use CL:AIRE.  Look it up.  Credit to DEFRA.


Bill Butterworth, Land research Ltd, 29 November 17


Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink

Water and power; fundamentals of all production and especially farming.

On 24 August 2017 the Water Resources Institute published a piece on their website looking at “7 Reasons We’re Facing a Global Water Crisis” in a piece written by Leah Schleifer.  With credit to them, I try here to relate those lessons to British farming and maybe farming elsewhere in developed counties that do not really think water may be a significant economic problem sooner rather than later.

 Reason 4. Water infrastructure is under pressure.

It is certainly true that water companies in the UK are spending £billions to reduce leakage.  However, the Victorians where good at building reservoirs and we, now, are not.

Conservation farming action;

  1. Build traditional, on farm, reservoirs if there is a stream. (Old tyres can be used to bind clay in a dam. (See link below.).)
  2. Clean gutters and harvest water.
  3. Build top-soil reservoirs using composted waste. (See )

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  September 17


Farm Product Branding

Cheese for sale in Devizes market, Wiltshire. So why do people therE buy Lancashire chees, rather than just “cheese”?

Developing a brand can generate not just loyalty but higher margins.. So, how can a farmer go about branding?  Well, his or her own name is a start.  The problem there is that it takes a long time to get the word known and usually costs significant resource, too.  One step easier is to use the farm name, but again, time and resource are involved in creating memorable images in enough individual minds is a problem.  One step easier is to use a place name that is easily identified.  One successful example of this is cheeses; Cheddar, Wensleydale, Cheshire and many more.  Choosing a name which is easily identified adds familiarity and that is part of developing and recognising trust.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd, 1 May 2017

Farming; Adding Safety as Value



Bread from Morrisons. Yes, the UK does produce the safest food in the world. Here, the rules are more sophisticated and better policed than anywhere else.

The whole of agricultural policy following two world wars, was food security and “food” was identified as farm crops as harvested. . While we forget that lesson at our peril, we now have to think in terms of Adding Value.  Doing that by taking a harvested crop (such as vegetables) and processing and packaging them is certainly a step in the right direction.  However, there is another way of looking at Adding Value and that is at an industry level for the national economy. One of the most important ways we can do that is to accept, co-operate with and seek to influence and re-direct regulation and regulators to deliver what is, and should be recognised as already the case, the safest food in the world.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd.,  26 April 2017

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