FARM subsidies are always a subject which divides opinion.

Like most people, farmers would prefer not to depend on state benefits for their living and would certainly like to run their businesses without the complex rules and time-consuming paperwork that the claims system demands.

However, there are far too many other people who benefit from these subsidies for us to ever persuade politicians there is a better way to ensure consumers have food on their plates and the environment is protected.

How many bureaucrats and civil servants would lose their jobs if subsidies were scrapped?

The National Trust and the RSPB would lose the £11.64million they received last year alone - vastly more than any farming businesses.

Both of these are good causes, but they benefit from many other tax advantages, legacies and public donations and in my view they have hijacked a system designed to ensure that Britain never again has to depend on imported food in times of crisis.

The former civil servants sometimes elected to run these charities know the rules and have far more time to play the system than any farmer.

Meanwhile, down on the farm it has been a pretty good autumn, although some locally dry spots have struggled to get crops sown and established.

Brexit is still on many people’s minds and the arguments rumble on.

The uncertainties affecting the pound have created a welcome rise in commodity prices, with oilseed rape and wheat worth almost 20 per cent more than a few months ago.

On the down side, imports are more expensive with fertiliser and machinery particularly affected.

It is a time for farmers to keep a close eye on currency fluctuations - in addition to the daily farming chores of whether the slugs are eating the wheat or the blackgrass weed has created resistance to the herbicides

The biggest scourge affecting farmers at the moment is the enormous increase in fly-tipping.

It is annoying enough to find the odd mattress, fridge or settee blocking a ditch, but the tightening of rules at many Essex County Council refuse tips has resulted in an alarming increase in professional fly-tipping.

A farmer at Brentwood, south Essex, recently had several loads of waste tipped on his land, some of which included equipment from an illegal cannabis factory.

Nearer to Colchester another farmer was left seething and many thousands of pounds worse off when gate locks were cut and seven articulated lorry loads of builders’ waste, car tyres and even asbestos were dumped in a field.

These are not the only examples and the outrageous fact is that once this trash is on a farmer’s land, it is his or her responsibility to dispose of it if the offender cannot be traced.

There is no subsidy or state aid to help the landowner in these situations.

If it is dumped back on the road, he/she becomes the illegal fly-tipper.

It is high time that those who continue to pay lip service to the environment started to look at some of these real issues.

Surely it should be made easier for householders and professionals to dispose of waste safely at recognised sites and it is grossly unfair that a few landowners must bear the brunt of this awful scourge.