BY JAMIE FOSTER Our hill farmers have shaped some of the most beautiful parts of Britain for generations, acting as custodians of precious environmental amenities while providing a crucial part of our livestock industry. Our hills and uplands are elevated areas of less favoured agricultural land. These Less Favoured Areas (LFAs) are suitable for extensive livestock production because of their geography and their climate: they … Continue reading Hill Farming in the North of England
BY ALEX STORY We live into the epoch of Utopia. We have left reality firmly behind. Seeking Utopia in this life, as the good book says, is to will “Hell on earth”. Nothing demonstrates our descent into extremist folly more than Net Zero. Few believe but many submit to this craze for fear of denunciation. The concept is hazy, which is the basis of its … Continue reading Belief or Submission?
BY ALEX STORY In Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, published in 1871, Alice climbs through a mirror into a world in which, just like a reflection, everything is reversed – including logic. Increasingly it feels like we have all climbed through the looking glass with Alice into a dark parallel universe in which reason is turned on its … Continue reading Through the Looking Glass
BY JIM WEBSTER The problem with environmental schemes is that it can often be difficult to work out whether they are worth entering. Indeed, with some it will probably cost you more to take part because of the income you lose is larger than the money you’ll get back from the government. But every so often there is a scheme which throws into high relief … Continue reading How Much Should We Pay the Peasantry?
VICAR Dear Readers of Country Squire Magazine, I trust that You are well. As rural readers will see when they are out and about, there’s plenty to do for arable farming in July. Haymaking and silage collection carries on, with the baling a key component. A square bale is usually used to feed horses, while round bales are typically for cattle. Potatoes will still be … Continue reading A Prayer for Safe Hay Making
BY DANIEL JUPP Energy and food. These are things we just can’t do without. The vast majority of rebellions throughout history have been about food. ‘Every society is three meals away from chaos’. It doesn’t matter that Lenin said this or that an earlier version was invented by Dumas. The Russian experience has proven that on this he was right. Most of history’s greatest atrocities … Continue reading Fart Control
BY JIM WEBSTER T Rex used to sing ‘Life’s a Gas’ and perhaps they were right. I was chatting to somebody who has been involved in agriculture (on the engineering, patching machinery up, side) pretty much all his life. He was commenting about the problems they’d had with a pickup which just didn’t seem to be processing fuel. At regular intervals it would cut out, … Continue reading Lynx, Easystart and Methane
BY GARY MCGHEE The 2nd series of this brilliant show aired recently. Like the first series it exposes the ridiculous bureaucracy that is blighting British farming, but with added insights into the appalling petty-minded jobsworthery and nimbyism of local West Oxfordshire officialdom. The bone of contention is a modest restaurant building plan concocted by Jeremy Clarkson on his land to provide a market for his … Continue reading Diddly Squat II Soon to be III
BY JIM WEBSTER Another supermarket caught up in a scandal. But it says a lot for the reputation Booths has built up that everybody seems to agree they were being cheated by their suppliers. Still it might be interesting to see who else those suppliers were supplying. Now the National Food Crime Unit is investigating just how it happened that Booths were supplied with products … Continue reading Buying British Beef
BY JIM WEBSTER There is a shortage of salad vegetables in the UK at the moment. Given it is now early March I suspect my Grandmother would not have been particularly surprised by this. But a modern, environmentally conscious, and wealthy population expect to get everything, all the time. The problem is that the consumer expects it to be cheap. And this is why we … Continue reading Salad at this Time of Year?
BY SUFFOLK & NORFOLK RAT PACK Before the first sunrise of 2023 the pack had assembled. Although some had bleary eyes everyone was rearing to get to work. We received a call from a farmer telling us he needed to clear some bales that he knew were full of rats. He was about to poison them, however he was delighted we could attend at short … Continue reading Exploding with Rats
Innovation, sustainability, high standards of animal welfare and a strong sense of community are among the key reasons farmers are proud of agriculture in the UK, a new survey has revealed. Organised by the Farming Help charities (The Farming Community Network, Addington Fund and Forage Aid) and circulated in advance of LAMMA 2023 (10-11 January), the survey of more than 500 farmers and agricultural professionals … Continue reading Survey Reveals What Farmers are Most Proud of about UK Agriculture
BY JIM WEBSTER Our broadband is less than sparkling. We have a maximum speed of 4 mbps because our farm in remote Cumbria is at the end of a long piece of copper. This copper is not getting any younger. For much of the last year we have been working with the BT Escalation team because they seem to be the only ones with the … Continue reading A Farmer’s Rural Broadband Nightmare
BY JIM WEBSTER It was back in the 1990s, and I knew several farmers who decided to give up their agricultural tenancies and get out of the industry. At the time they were somewhat nervous as to how they were going to make a living. After all, this wasn’t retirement. I’m not sure if any of them got out of the industry with enough to … Continue reading What Will Be Your Next Job?
BY JIM WEBSTER There is a saying: ‘To deny is to confirm’ The minute a body puts out press releases saying that it has never considered a policy change, everybody assumes that policy is about to be changed and they’re just waiting for a good day to bury bad news before they inform us. The problem is that, thanks to the Ukrainian War, an awful … Continue reading Few Noticed The World Has Changed
BY JOHN NASH There is a huge difference between a dairy farm where milk is produced from grass and, say, a petting farm where people, especially children, go to see and touch live animals. Rather importantly, the first is actually a farm and the second is entertainment even when sold as education. Farming is a primary occupation, exploiting the “outside” environment to produce the … Continue reading Different Worlds
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN The magnificence of this country is that one never knows what pot of joy or genius one might find down a country lane or hidden away in some random-looking terrace. I suppose that those less appreciative of laissez-faire society would argue the flip side; that British tolerance and enduring liberties facilitate the opposite too. To be fair, ammo dumps are seldom but … Continue reading Webster
BY JIM WEBSTER Friday was a busy day, we sorted a lot of heifers out, moved them about, and had the vet check that those who’d been running with the bull were in calf. Then on Sunday morning I found two different groups had tested the limits of their current boundaries and found them significantly more permeable than I had previously thought. Certainly, the previous … Continue reading Rural Vehicle Emissions Negligible
BY JIM WEBSTER It’s interesting that both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have spoken out against covering farmland with solar panels. You do wonder if finally, people are beginning to wake up a little. Personally I think that, whether he intended to or not, Putin has created a watershed in history, but not perhaps in the way he intended. If we go back to the … Continue reading How Many Solar Panels Can You Eat?
BY JIM WEBSTER One of the joys of farming is that there often isn’t a right way to do it. Two farmers will do the same thing in entirely different ways and both of them seem to work well enough. Some things work on one farm, with its soil types and climates, but don’t work too well on another farm. I know hill sheep farmers … Continue reading Ignore the Potty Eco Chuggers