29 March 2002

We practise what we preach. Alone among farming titles worldwide, FARMERS WEEKLY has long had mud on its boots.

For much of its proud 68-year history, FW has maintained a practical involvement in UK farming. Sadly, our farming connections at Mill Farm, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, and at Curworthy in Devon ended years ago. But our farm tenancy at Easton Lodge Farm near Stamford, Lincs, has long provided a direct link between Britains market-leading farming title and its readers.

So its a pleasure to share good news about our farming business. We are taking on the 180ha (445-acre) Sacrewell Lodge Farm, Thornhaugh, close to Easton Lodge, on a five-year farm business tenancy.

For some time we have been looking to expand our arable operation in order to cut our fixed costs by spreading them over a wider area. In common with other arable farmers, we are striving to meet the challenge of farming profitability against a background of lower prices, more red tape and rising costs.

Week by week, we report the expert advice of researchers, scientists, agronomists, advisers and others about how to squeeze top yields from crops in less-than-ideal soils and weather patterns. Then theres the vexed questions of sifting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to advice on grain marketing. But we know from our experience at Easton Lodge, and also because you tell us, how difficult turning theory into practice really is.

Nevertheless, however bleak the prospects, it is our intention to continue bringing you practical pointers to help lift profitability. FW Farms, providing a wealth of opportunity to explore business and technical topics, the impact of proposed policies such as those outlined in the Curry report and to evaluate machinery, are a key part of that strategy.

We look forward to sharing with you our farming fortunes, good and ill, from our new farming venture at Sacrewell Lodge.

FWPUTSMOREMUDONBOOTSWITHANOTHEREXCITINGFARMVENTURE