Young Women & Hay

BY JIM WEBSTER Many years ago a friend of mine used to regale me with stories of an old farmer he’d worked with. The old chap farmed at the top of one of the valleys that run into the Pennines. Back in the day, the farm at the foot of the valley would be a really good dairy farm with a fair bit of ploughing. … Continue reading Young Women & Hay

Food Prices & Bumps in the Road

BY JIM WEBSTER From talking to fellow farmers and others over the last few months, there has been ‘considerable dislocation’ in the market. The nearer you are to ‘commodity’ food production the more stable things have been. Whereas if you’ve specialised to produce for niche markets or even sell direct to the catering trade or at farmers’ markets, everything went very messy very quickly in … Continue reading Food Prices & Bumps in the Road

Farming’s Robot Idealism

BY JIM WEBSTER I saw an interesting comment somewhere in the farming press. Apparently in agriculture we’re going to have to get with the programme and adopt more cutting edge technology. The ‘smart home’ is here, we’re now going to have the ‘smart farm’. Certainly moving to robot milking is now an option for dairy farmers. Economics and other factors might mean it’s not for … Continue reading Farming’s Robot Idealism

Farming & Politics Don’t Mix

BY JIM WEBSTER As you can imagine, a slaughterhouse will get an awful lot of paperwork, and a lot of it has to be properly disposed of because it’s government documents. So a manager I know installed a shredding machine to dispose of it securely. Last time I talked to him he saved this paper for bedding up the pen in the lairage that they … Continue reading Farming & Politics Don’t Mix

The Rural Broadband Con

BY JIM WEBSTER You may be wondering – if you have been following the rural broadband saga we have been experiencing on our Cumbrian farm – what happened when we received a formal quote from Openreach? Well it’s official. We’ve had the formal notification from them. To quote: As discussed the detailed quote provided by Openreach to upgrade your connection under the Universal Service Scheme … Continue reading The Rural Broadband Con

Farms Don’t Want UK Workers

BY JIM WEBSTER Last week seventy seasonal workers out of two hundred working on a Herefordshire vegetable farm tested positive for Covid. All across social media a storm of people asked, “Why are we bringing in Romanians when there are people in this country looking for work?” The problem is that whilst people in this country may be looking for work, they don’t want that … Continue reading Farms Don’t Want UK Workers

Farm Sales

BY JIM WEBSTER Here I’m talking not about selling farms, I’m discussing the sale that occurs on the farm when ‘everything must go.’ This is normally because the last tenant or previous owner is retiring. Traditionally round here there were three components to a sale. They’d start off with the ‘small tools’. This was the miscellaneous rubbish out of the workshop and other buildings. Old … Continue reading Farm Sales

Reality-Free Civil Servants

BY JIM WEBSTER It struck me that you might want to open your village hall or community centre, so I thought I’d guide you through the new rules which can be found here. First there is a series of warnings: Many community facilities are also workplaces and those responsible for the premises should therefore be aware of their responsibilities as employers. The government is clear … Continue reading Reality-Free Civil Servants