14 January 2000

Dont start here with set ideas

THERE are seven dogs and 700 sheep at La Fromenterie, St Remey, where David Hoskins and his partner Jane farm. The couple had been together 18 months when Farmlife called but had individually farmed in France for longer.

Davids advice for convivial relations with French farmers is not to come to an area with set ideas. "Do what the other farmers in the area do – work with the climate and the land. French arable farmers are just as good as the British and by and large they are good livestock farmers," he says.

"The French people are delightful and the Dept of Agriculture will help you get round the system. The biggest problem is the language – you can misinterpret and a little thing becomes a big thing.

"The attitude of the government means farmers have the ability to have a good standard of living. There is a nice quiet way of life here, not the pressures you get elsewhere and it is safe for the children. We wont get rich but we will make a good living."