A Farmer’s Rural Broadband Nightmare

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 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

How Many Solar Panels Can You Eat?

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?

D’ye ken John Peel?

BY CAPTAIN ED SWALES Every rural and hunting Cumbrian certainly does. It’s part of their rural heritage. The famous early 19th century farmer and fell huntsman of the Lake District, lay undisturbed in St Kentigern’s Churchyard in Caldbeck from 1854 until one grim night in 1977, when his grave was desecrated and his remains disinterred by Mike Huskisson, an operative of the League Against Cruel … Continue reading D’ye ken John Peel?

Too Little Wheat, Too Much Makeup

BY JIM WEBSTER During first lockdown, behind the scenes, major retailers performed logistical miracles. As a farmer I’m not somebody who is prone to praise them, but in spite of ridiculous levels of panic buying (there are people out there who won’t need to buy toilet paper for another couple of years) the retailers managed to keep the show on the road. During lockdown I … Continue reading Too Little Wheat, Too Much Makeup

Ukraine Effects: A Farmer’s Thoughts

BY JIM WEBSTER On the agricultural front, so far nothing has really been said in the West, although I’ve noticed a couple of the papers starting to run stories about possible food shortages. Apparently the Chinese government, which seems to think about these things rather more than our governments do, has stockpiled 70% of world maize stocks, 51% of world wheat stocks and “enormous quantities … Continue reading Ukraine Effects: A Farmer’s Thoughts

Farmers Farm

BY JIM WEBSTER It’s a lot of years ago now. My father and I went on this farm walk organised by the Country Landowners Association. In some parts of England and Wales, the CLA seems to have a preponderance of major estates and landowners, and in other parts of England and Wales most of its members are small farmers. I think I was about sixteen … Continue reading Farmers Farm


BY JIM WEBSTER I remember an old farmer commenting about lads ‘helping out.’ “One boy is one boy. Two boys is half a boy, three boys is no boy at all.” I know of a couple of farms round here that used to get a lot of lads ‘helping out.’ With village farms where the village was a community, not a dormitory suburb, it was … Continue reading Lads