All Commentary
Friday, April 1, 1960

Success Without Subsidy

From the November-December 1959 issue of the London journal, Freedom.

In a world in which many people think controls and subsidies are necessary to preserve a prosperous agriculture, forty-three-year-old Antony Fisher is an outstanding example of a farmer who can suc­ceed without them.

Fisher chose to be a large-scale chicken producer because this was one of the few branches of farm­ing in Great Britain not sub­sidized by the government. “Subsidies are humiliating and create more evils than they cure,” he says.

He has certainly proved that they are unnecessary, for within the last six years he has created a chicken producing business which is probably the largest of its kind in Europe.

After the war, he settled down with his family on his four hundred-acre mixed farm near Framfield in Sussex. In 1952, dis­aster came in the form of foot and mouth disease, which meant that his herd of Friesian cows had to be destroyed.

This caused him to look around for some way of increasing his turnover. He found what he wanted when he visited America to lecture on the evils of State Economic Planning.

On a broiler farm near Cornell University, he saw 15,000 birds in one house and at once realized that there was a very great open­ing for similar large-scale produc­tion in Great Britain.

After studying American de­signs, Fisher established a modern plant on the conveyor belt system which, with 200 employees, plucks and processes, ready for the oven, over 20,000 birds a day. This year he will reach an output of 30,000 birds a day.

This modern system of produc­tion used by Fisher has reduced the price of chicken in the shops by about 30 per cent in five years. Prices are expected to fall steadily. They have thus made possible the famous ambition of Henry of Navarre (Henry IV of France) that “every good fellow should have his chicken in the pot on Sundays.”

It was Fisher’s firm belief in free enterprise which induced him to prefer the production of chick­ens to that of any planned or sub­sidized branch of agriculture. His success has confirmed and strengthened that belief. He con­siders that if people would only study the technique of the classic economists, they would realize that the acceptance of the prin­ciples of free enterprise are essen­tial for a nation which wishes to attain both freedom and pros­perity.





Ideas on Liberty

The Function of Government

The office of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.