“Is this a crate of carrots that the RN is holding out to us, to bait us, without there being anything behind it? We’ll see later.”

“Yesterday morning, I sheared my sheep. I got 15 cents per kilo of wool. Fifteen cents, I don’t know if you realize! The trader who comes to collect it, I’ve been working with him for thirty years. He’s disgusted to tell me such prices. He takes my wool, it goes to Dunkirk in one-ton bales, and hop!, in containers, heading for China. They’re the ones who decide the prices. But the Chinese are laughing at us. They’ve found some good lackeys: we, the Europeans!”

DOROTHÉE RICHARD

For me, it’s completely disgusting. I don’t believe in anything anymore. It’s been over for a long time, it’s too late. It was forty years ago that we had to maintain our industries. It’s not normal that we go and have wool washed in China and buy it processed, is it? In France, livestock farming is disappearing, but not from the shelves. They are supplied by other countries, like New Zealand. Meat travels 15,000 kilometers by boat!

I have 400 sheep. I pay about 2.30 euros for shearing a sheep. Do the math: I earn 50 cents for the wool of an animal. It’s as if you were giving your salary back to your employer! So we comfort ourselves with the price of lamb, which is a little higher than before. But, even if the immigrant population is increasing, and they are big consumers of mutton, it’s not enough. A kilo of mutton in Paris costs 50 euros, but it leaves my house at 9 euros. The middlemen, in a fortnight, take 40 balls…

I am still waiting for 13,000 euros from the CAP [la politique agricole commune européenne] for 2023, which still have not arrived. My wife, who is in GAEC [une société civile agricole] with me, took the liberty of calling the bank yesterday. They told him it was coming, but in installments, because there is no money! The State does not have the money. So, we stop buying fertilizer for the meadows. In the meantime, when I receive the fuel bill every two weeks, we still have to pay it. Result: when everything is paid, we are under the minimum wage. I work 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Luckily I love my job, eh! It’s what keeps me going. In winter, being outside with the animals, I love it.

It would be normal for us to have 3,000 euros in our pockets each, we are the ones who feed the country. At home, there are five of us, with my wife and our three children, who are 25, 23 and 16 years old. To live, we have to bring in four salaries, otherwise we can’t survive. The two older ones are employees on the farm, and the youngest is in vocational school. I have been established since 1995. After thirty years in the business, I am still below the minimum wage. There is still a problem, isn’t there?

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