Cournon-d'Auvergne (France) (AFP)

In the aisles of the Livestock Summit, which brings together thousands of farmers since Wednesday near Clermont-Ferrand, many are asking "do we still want peasants in France?".

Even if they only touch them marginally, the taxes on wine and French cheese announced by the United States Thursday were felt like a coup de grace by French farmers at bay.

Weakened by the relentless drought of the summer and shaken by attacks on their use of pesticides, even the most liberal among them feel trapped in globalization, which they now call "distortion of competition".

With the CETA trade agreement, they fear that thousands of tonnes of Canadian meat from livestock and crops that have benefited from banned products in the EU such as the dreaded atrazine or neonicotinoid insecticides will arrive in France, says Patrick Benezit the majority union FNSEA.

At the same time, Trump's taxes will hinder or prevent the development of sales in the United States of local agricultural products such as French wines and cheeses, which is booming across the Atlantic.

Dressed in yellow t-shirts bearing the inscription "our job deserves respect" about fifty members of the Rural Coordination union showed Thursday their unease in the aisles of the show.

On their black placards, the ills suffered by the breeders stand out in white letters: "suicides", "indebtedness", "drought", "wolf", "CETA", "Mercosur", "pensions", "ZNT", " price "," vegans ".

"Between Trump and the drop in milk prices, our job as a dairy farmer no longer attracts us, because it involves too many uncertainties How to make investments at 10 or 15 years and not know if the milk will be paid to us , there is no instrument to depreciate an installation and the family breeding disappears, "says Thierry Roquefeuil, breeder and president of the dairy industry.

Delphine Freyssinier, a farmer of Salers cows in the Cantal Mountains, does not even know how she will pay the hay she will have to buy for her animals this winter. "Either a short-term loan or I'm selling cows," she says.

In the peasant confederation, the drought that has made the departments of Puy-de-Dôme and Allier its epicenter this year, seems to have sealed all hope: "When we're out of the roll, we are resigned" Pascal Falvard loose , union spokesman in the Puy-de-Dôme, AFP.

Paraphrasing Jacques Chirac, a fan of agricultural fairs, the president of the FNSEA majority union, Christiane Lambert exclaims "our agriculture burns and we look elsewhere", regretting the heavy trend towards food imports, including from other European countries, in France.

- "Diabolized" -

"We are suffering from distortions of competition, because the health and environmental overtranspositions of the European directives are increasing our burdens, and we can not invest, and we have identified levers to boost the competitiveness that we are going to present to the President of the Republic", explains Mrs. Lambert who "refuses to stay in the spiral of decline".

To put pressure on the public authorities, the FNSEA presented at the show an agenda of "actions" culminating mid-November with a large gathering in Strasbourg, including including blockades and snail operations Monday, October 8 on the roads "in all France".

"The formula we hear the most in this show is + do we still want peasants?" Says Ms. Lambert.

"We are constantly being demonized, we are being denied irrigation, we are being intruded by farm buildings, and now we have 63 million agricultural advisers who believe they can tell us how to work by criticizing our use of products. phytosanitary, a complete irrationality is installed, we can not work because of an urban society that does not know the living, "she said.

"We need to produce food, if we do not, it will come from elsewhere."

© 2019 AFP