By the time you read this we will be residents of Suffolk, having left Dorset as spring moves swiftly on.
Livestock and crops look exceptionally well, dark green wheat and bright yellow oilseed rape combined with a bright blue sky. What, apart from a bit of rain, could be better?
This time of year gives me real heart and an incredible satisfaction in being involved with the land. Make sure you all take a little time out to appreciate it. Given my departure from the organic farming scene, I have to say that I will miss the challenges and joys of working more closely with nature to achieve the desired result. One thing that I will not miss is the uneven playing fields that are different organic standards, even from within the EU trading block.
Organic issues aside, how foolish is it to export demand based around lower welfare and environmental standards? Even in harsh economic times the consumer must have the conviction to support what we are all trying to achieve in this country. How are we going to make them realise that short-term farming doesn’t work? It won’t feed us in the UK, never mind the world, if we lose our productive sustainable base.
A more important question that I ask myself more frequently these days is: what is the limiting production factor really going to be – will it be energy, water, nutrients, disease or just the very fact that the world isn’t really large enough anymore?
Finally, I would like to thank the many friends that my wife Jennifer and I have made in Dorset, especially all of the staff at Crichel for their support and friendship over the last few years. We wish them well for the future.