15 March 2002

Driving ambition?No…

WE have an 80-acre dairy farm in Derbyshire milking 35 cows. I currently work five days a week for a local haulage firm and spend most of my weekends and holiday helping on the farm.

Fifteen years ago, this farm could support two families. Now, it struggles to support one. The only way I can see myself carrying on is to scrap the dairy herd and go into either beef or sucklers while getting a 9-5 job to supplement my income.

I dont want to leave farming – but the way I see the industry treating the small man, I cant really see a future in it.

I really want to do the job. The best part of the week for me is the weekends and holidays. All week I am looking over hedges and into farms that I pass to see what is happening.

The worst time for me is the summer when everything is happening – I wish I could be there helping, but at the end of the day the mortgage needs paying.

If we could earn a living wage for two families off the farm, I would give up driving in an instant. Believe me, living in a tin box 6ft x 6ft x 6ft for five days and driving over 2000 miles/week is a hard thing to get used to when youve been brought up on the freedom of a farm.

Stephen Beardow

Chesterfield, Derbyshire.