Farmers exasperate Whitty Evidence of the government's aim to make livestock producers think as businessmen rather than subsidy dependants emerged when food and farming minister Lord Whitty spoke at an MLC-sponsored award ceremony. Lord Whitty defended the government's controversial refusal to pay for the procedures, including on-farm inspections, needed by producers taking advantage of Brussels' easing of the FMD-triggered pork export ban. "It is the pig industry operator and/or trader who stands to benefit from this trade and it is therefore right that they should meet the cost," the minister said. Pig producers' leaders had been squabbling with DEFRA for a fortnight, the farmers claiming inspections were disease control measures and should be paid by the department Lord Whitty insisted "that the industry stand on its own two feet". DEFRA sources later told The Grocer of the "exasperation" felt by Lord Whitty and some senior officials at the farmers' inability to comprehend the need for their own investment rather than public funds as a right. Lord Whitty also defended the supermarkets ­ "easy targets" for lobbyists. "The customers trust the supermarkets more than they trust the farmers....and a hell of a lot more than they trust the government." {{MEAT }}