By jameshunter1, Mar 14 2018 08:40PM
Life up on the farm (by James Hunter)
I am currently standing in for Michael Brown, as the NFU Huntingdon branch chairman. I congratulate him on the safe arrival of twin boys. All doing well. I am showing my age but I recall my father chatting to their Great Great Grandfather! My main duty this month has been representing the branch at the NFU conference at the ICC in Birmingham. I think most know that the NFU is a member’s organisation that lobby & work to help farmers. The vast majority of farmers are members & the subscription depends on farm size.
The first day of conference started with DEFRA minister of State Michael Grove MP. Mr Grove told the 1,500 delegates that the hopes, concerns and duties of the agricultural community are more relevant to Government now than they have been for 50 years. He was followed by David Drew, standing in for Shadow Defra Minister Sue Hayman, outlined the importance of British farming, its high quality food production standards and potential to thrive post-Brexit. The number of TB-infected cattle slaughtered in Britain last year breached the 43,000 barrier which caused tension in the hall as the numbers are still rising.
The first day finished with 1260 enjoying a wonderful dinner. We were amazed how they produced such a meal for so many, we all appreciated the shops & suppliers who sponsored the pre dinner drinks, fillet steak, cheeses, wine & the speaker.
The main topic of the second day was the election of the office holders. For the first time in the 109 years of the NFU a female president was elected. I am confident that Minette Batters will do a good job for us all. One of her challenges is for you to be able to enjoy the same good food at the right price post Brexit. I wish her well in her role. It was a very interesting & enjoyable two days, mixing with farmers & those who influence our great industry.
Last month I mentioned that we were trying to remove the charlock in the rape fields. It was a gamble to get frosts once the chemical was in the plants. We have been lucky; most of the weeds are now looking sick, thanks to the cold snap.
Several have mentioned that have seen the tree management in a Jaunties last winter & Six Yards spinney this year. We have taken out the dead elms. This has let the light in for the ash & oak to grow up. The removed wood is stored and the benefits are felt in the cold snaps. I heat the 8 bedroom farmhouse with a solid fuel burner. It is very hungry when it is cold! If I can lift the logs it goes in and heats the house. It can get through 100Kg of wood/ day (16 stone)
During the month we have had three attempted thefts. The first was an internet scam. We are advertising a fertiliser spreader in a magazine & on the net. A fraudulent foreign buyer was offering to pay more than we were asking for it. As I understand it we could have accepted an offer greater than the asking price. Then loaded the spreader away and also lost the payment. Second we had visitors in the night with a lorry in the yard who attempted to take 9 pedigree bulls 18 month old. Lastly a couple of chaps were photographing the Land Rover not expecting Gavin to be just the other side of it. They made a lame excuse about rabbits & made off.
Finally, it has been party time this year. Seven weeks in & I have had three 60th Birthday party celebrations.